With the renovation of the Michigan Union estimated to continue until early Winter 2020 and renovation of the Central Campus Recreational Building beginning in 2021, these facilities will remain closed due to construction.
The University of Michigan Board of Regents approved both of these multimillion-dollar renovation projects, most recently the CCRB in September. The temporary closing of these facilities affects students across campus, including those who worked in these locations.
The estimated $85,200,000 Michigan Union Renovation Project includes updates to the building's exterior, increased student space, improved disability accessibility, an expansion to the Counseling and Psychological Services space and gender-neutral bathrooms. The CCRB project has a $150 million budget and will create a new 200,000 square foot space for recreational sports and exercise.
The University Unions and Recreational Sports — a subset of the CCRB — are both large providers of student employment. Susan Pile, the senior director of the University Unions, said approximately 100 students worked at the Union, excluding the employees of leased operations such as Starbucks or Panda Express.
Every year, Student Life employs about 4,000 students in part-time, work-study, and temporary positions. These positions encompass customer services, rec sports, Michigan dining, information technology and more.
According to Director of Recreational Sports Mike Widen, Recreational Sports as a whole employs more than 600 students per year.
Student employees at the Union were informed of the renovation plans years before the building closed for construction.
“We knew a few years prior to the Michigan Union renovation so we actively informed the campus community, including student employees, over those years,” Pile wrote in an email interview.
Public Policy junior Nick Martire worked at the Union Starbucks for about seven months. Martire said he was aware of the closing before his employer told him.
“While my employer did tell me about the Union renovation, I knew about it already when they told me,” Martire wrote in an email interview.
Because Starbucks was a leased operation, Martire said he did not receive University assistance in finding his new job at the Alumni Association. But Pile said for those students employed by the University in the Union, alternate placements were arranged.
“In many cases, the students now work at the League and Pierpont,” Pile wrote. “Any student who was working in the Union and wanted another position was given that opportunity.”
Pile said the Union also hosted a job fair for students employed by non-University operations within the Union to assist in finding another job.
As for the upcoming CCRB renovation, Widen said student employees were informed of the renovations through meetings and email announcements after the Regents voted on it in September, though many were aware of the project from other means. Similar to the Union, time was given before the start of the project to allow for the necessary changes of employment.
“The CCRB isn't scheduled to close for replacement for two more years,” Widen wrote in an email interview. “As we get closer to that time, we will make adjustments to our hiring.”
Widen said students who may be working at the CCRB in two years will work with Recreational Sports to find alternate placement.
“We have other facilities like IMSB, NCRB, Sports Coliseum, Elbel Field, and Mitchell Field that all need student staffing,” Widen wrote. “In addition, we have a number of programs that need student employees as well, e.g. Group-X, Personal Training, Intramural Sports, Club Sports, Adventure Leadership.”
LSA junior Mikaela Bradley currently works at both the CCRB and the Intramural Sports Building. In an email interview, Bradley said she will no longer be a student at the University when the renovations begin; however she expected if she still were a student, she would try to continue working for Recreational Sports.
“If the CCRB was closing earlier, I would definitely try to ensure all of my shifts were at the IMSB so that I could still work with recreational sports,” Bradley wrote.
Bradley also added some students are under the assumption that renovations will be occurring very soon.
“A lot of students that don't work at rec sports seem to think the renovations are going to happen much sooner than they are,” Bradley wrote. “I have had several patrons ask me when the CCRB is closing and they are often surprised that the remodeling is still a few years away.”
Widen added Recreational Sports has experience with renovations over the past few years.
“We've gone through this same process of making adjustments for student employees recently with the IMSB (2015-2016) and the NCRB (2017-2018) were each closed for their own renovations,” Widen wrote.