On March 1, students will begin to see big changes to the Union building. Construction will start as phase one of the Union renovation project aims to redo the west half of the Union gym.

Phase one of the planned construction focuses on developing a new gathering place for the intercultural development programs.

The remodeled area will include office space, conference space and reception space, creating a common space shared by the Center of Intercultural Teaching and Learning, the international education department and the multi-cultural affairs office. Along with new offices, new men’s and women’s restroom areas will also be created to support the ongoing renovations.

When construction finishes, the main entrance to the Union will be in the center of the building, providing easy access to the CITL offices.

“It’s going to reorient our use of the Union building,” said Jim Histand, vice president of finance for the college. “You won’t walk into an old gym; you’ll walk into a new area.”

At one time, the Union gym was the main large-group meeting place on campus. Goshen events such as the kick-off talent show and commencement, as well as basketball and volleyball games, were all held in the Union gym. Currently, the gymnasium serves mostly as excess storage space.

“It’s an exciting step for the general Union renovations,” said Histand. “It’s a fairly small, fairly self-contained project, but it clearly starts to impact the way the Union is used, no question.”

Histand said phase one will cost $1.8 million, all of which comes from CITL-funded grant money.

“There is money within the CITL grant itself to create a better physical space for the CITL program,” he said. “That’s been in there from the beginning.”

DJ Construction has been contracted to do the renovation. They aim to finish phase one in August, before student arrive for classes next school year.