Young Gets Old – Ballroom Expected to be Gone by Spring

Young Demolition

PHOTO | Denzil Navolt

The campus is saying goodbye to the W.O. Young Building and hello to the new student union and recreation center by 2025.

Here’s what to expect with the demolition of the Young Building and the construction of the new student union going forward.

The demolition of the Young Building is set to begin over Christmas break and span from Dec. 7 through Feb. 24. The demolition includes the removal and proper disposal of asbestos containing materials that are scattered throughout the Young Building.

The Environmental Enterprise Group, EEG, will oversee the environmental remediation and demolition project.

EEG’s report lists the ceiling textures, mudded fittings, and floor tiles as AMC, asbestos containing materials. Throughout the duration of the project will be 990 square feet of floor tiling from the purchasing reception area and the bookstore and 10,516 square feet of ACM acoustical ceiling texture from the ballroom, bookstore and post office lobby.

During the disposal of ACM and the actual demolition of the building signs will be posted on every entry and exit to the site warning of the carcinogenic and lung disease hazards.

However, this doesn’t mean that the site will cause any major disruption for people staying on the campus over the break. The EEG report also made clear that the site will have minimum interference with travel. This means, they will not be closing or obstructing any roads, streets, walks or facilities during the demolition.

Once demolition is complete and the site is cleared, construction on the new student union and recreation center can begin. The construction has an estimated budget of around $49.3 million and has an expected floor space of anywhere between 92,000 to 95,000 square feet.

Roughly $15.6 million has already been transferred in support of the project. According to a construction update from, Vice President for Administration and Finance Laury Fiorello said, “Arkansas Tech University has boldly envisioned a new recreation center and student union building and a unifying plaza at the crossroads of campus.”

According to Fiorello’s memorandum to the Board of Trustees, noted in the update, the new facility will serve several student centered functions such as “Student Government Association, eSports, basketball courts, food service, convenience store, spirit shop, fitness equipment, walking track and other related functions.”

During the Oct 20 Board of Trustees meeting, trustees approved the amended “pop-up” design of the student recreation center. The amended schematic is a two-story building with rooftop terraces and a glass front visually similar to the design of Baztech.