Northeastern Illinois University

Chicago,

Student Union Needs Assessment And Financial Analysis

In 2007 Northeastern Illinois University selected B&D to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment of its student union. We were tasked with determining the extent to which the union addressed contemporary campus demand for space to interact socially, grow culturally, relax recreationally, and learn experientially. Students and administrators alike realized the inadequacy of the union, its limited service offerings, outdated décor, and lack of space for formal and planned activities. Our work included: a market analysis to identify demand for a new union; a demand-based recommendation for improvement; and conceptual programs to describe what could make the facility a better experience for its users. Further, a benchmark comparison revealed that while the union offered a variety of spaces and services, the layout and décor deterred usage by the students. We recommended a series of improvements at various levels, with cost models for each option, including: converting the foodservice area into a retail-style foodservice concept; renovating the ballroom to be a multipurpose venue; replacing FF&E throughout; improving wireless accessibility; and creating E-mail stations and game space.