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The LUSU Full Time Offiicers are hoping to relocate to Bowland West Wing A floor and B floor, this mover may have taken place by Easter 2013.
The new plans for the new building show that it be predominantly open plan, as opposed to the separate office set-up currently in place. LUSU President, Ste Smith, told SCAN that the new building will provide a “more open and visual space.”
As the building would be split into two floors, Smith stated that there had to be “a good deal of consideration of what we have on the ground floor and what will go upstairs, as I think that naturally students will be more likely to come to the ground floor and interact with us downstairs.”
The four main areas downstairs would be the Info Desk, Education & Support, Activities and Involve, as these are the areas with the “most student engagement currently.”
Regarding Education & Support, Smith stated that “the last thing you want to do if you have a problem is walk around a building trying to find somebody. One of the main functions of a Student Union is to support our students so it is really imperative that they [Education & Support] are on the ground floor.”
On the subject of Activities, Smith also pointed out that as so many students would be coming in for different issues concerning sports teams, societies and other events, it is “important that there is a lot of space for them to come in and interact”, which the open plan layout accommodates.
Smith also suggested that this open plan layout could “create a bit of a buzz around the Student Union, which is something we miss at the moment.” He also said that they hope for it to be “colour coded and very visual” so that people will know exactly where they are going. This could also “breathe a bit of life into the space” he added, comparing it to the current ‘bunker’ which he describes as quite dark and dingy, and highlighting his view that “a Student Union should be a vibrant space”.
Although the layout would be open plan, there would also be some separate closed off spaces. Downstairs, there would be a closed off meeting room and two closed off pods, the latter of which students can go for more confidential discussions with student advisors.
As well as the informal meeting room downstairs, there would be more formal meeting rooms upstairs, including a board room where larger meetings can take place. Smith highlighted the importance of this, as currently having only one meeting room in the LUSU building can be difficult if more than one meeting is required at the same time.
Upstairs would also be home to the commercial services, media & communication, administration, the finance office and LUSU President’s office, the last two of which would be more closed off from the open plan layout. There would also be one-on-one areas upstairs, which would also be closed off spaces for more confidential discussions.
Overall, Smith stated that the building is “a big step forward. It’s not perfect. It’s supposed to be an interim solution”, before a more purpose built alternative is available. Nevertheless, he commented that the relocation “will make it easier with students to engage for us” and “improve the working environment of our staff”, having a more positive impact on everyone.