A long overdue renovation has transformed dingy and outdated portions of Northern Illinois University’s Holmes Student Center from a place to pass through into a destination in its own right.
The results of a $20 million reimagining of the lower level of the 50-plus year-old campus hub were unveiled last week.
A tour revealed a space that spacious, bright and welcoming. A grand entrance off the Martin Luther King Commons eliminates several bottleneck entries. There’s a Starbucks already operating and upscale dining options are planned nearby. There’s also easy access to a relocated bookstore and there’s plenty of places to sit and eat or simply relax between classes.
“We hope that this becomes a social hub, a place where students – as well as faculty and staff – will want to hang out, watch a ball game or listen to a concert,” said NIU President Dr. Lisa Freeman said in a statement last week. “It is an exciting part of our efforts to create a vibrant central hub of activity on campus.”