University Center Receives Renovation


FMU shows off its newly renovated Smith University Center. It features new flooring, furniture and athletic equipment.

Alexis Johnson, Managing Editor

New and returning Francis Marion University students will see new sights—both upstairs and downstairs—when they walk through the doors of the University Center.

The UC, which hosts a number of campus events, received a renovation over the summer.

“The University continually evaluates all of its facilities and it was time to make some renovations to the UC,” Teresa Ramey, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, said.  “The UC is used for numerous events and it was time for a few updates.”

According to Darryl Bridges, Vice President for Public and Community Affairs, the UC underwent a three-part renovation.  The commons area received new flooring and furniture.  The fitness room located on the second level received new fitness and weight machines.  Additionally, the former game room and café area were transformed into a fitness center that features strength and cardio machines.

The game tables were relocated upstairs into a room formerly occupied by some of the athletic coaches. These coaches now have offices in the new Griffin Athletic Complex.

As indicated by Ramey, the renovations were a collaborative effort between facilities management, building maintenance, and student affairs.

Murray Hartlzer, Director of Athletics and Coordinator of the Physical Education program, also played a pivotal role in the changes.

“My main role was . . . helping choose the correct equipment for the upstairs that would serve the athletes, but also downstairs for the whole student body,” Hartzler said.  “And trying to make sure we had a dollar amount we could go over.”

According to Ramey, the renovations will benefit the entire FMU campus, especially those with an interest in health and fitness.

“Fitness is important to our students, staff, and faculty,” Ramey said.  “The University supports the health and wellness of our campus community, and expanding facilities to the first floor will accommodate more people.”

The upgrades will also be particularly useful to student athletes.

“We did put a number of pieces upstairs that are going to make it a lot more functional for the athletes and for other students who want to use free weights,” Hartzler said.

Hartlzer adds the renovations will also aid in the recruitment of student athletes, noting that the upgrades are what potential recruits are seeking in a college setting.

“Some of the equipment they were able to purchase upstairs—it’s what high school recruits are looking for,” Hartzler said.  “Now it’s become a place where coaches want to show recruits.”

As for the future of the UC, Hartzler hopes it may continue to receive upgraded equipment.

“This year and down the road maybe we can add a piece of equipment and replace the older equipment,” Hartzler said.

According to Ramey, a state bidding process was used to help fund the renovation.