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UTEP unveils new Union Student Lounge

Vibrant, trendy and inviting are all words to describe the new Miners Lounge on the first floor of Union Building East at The University of Texas at El Paso which combines function and flair, and it’s getting rave reviews from its initial users.

“It’s just what we needed for studying,” said sophomore biology major Alejandro Baca. He and a friend had set up their laptop computers at the counter stand that had pop-up electrical charging stations. “It’s impressive.’

The lounge, which is equipped with Wi-Fi, is part of an 11,660-square-foot renovation project that includes an information center and conference rooms in what had been the sales floor of the former UTEP bookstore.

As the University has grown, students have said they need more places to meet, study and interact socially and academically. The new lounge and conference areas will meet that need, said Richard Padilla, Ed.D., vice president for student affairs.

The inviting, laid back atmosphere lends itself to short breaks, said Neal Fulcher, a freshman kinesiology major who spent some time there this week with a handful of friends. They used the soft chairs covered in lime green, warm orange or blue patterned cloth, with small attached tables. Recessed lights and hanging lights brightened the area.

“It’s more comfortable than the second floor,” Fulcher said. “I could fall asleep here.”

At the back of the lounge are six conference rooms, including two that have been set aside specifically for student use.

The information center to the west side of the lounge initially will be staffed by Union Services personnel from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. It eventually will expand its hours to mirror those of the Union.

“We’ll provide information and help VIPs and other visitors with directions,” said Kim Salayandia, a Union Services student assistant. “Some people have asked for human resources, the career center, the health center and where to go to buy UTEP shirts.”

Eventually it will be a hub of detailed information regarding Union events and University news from classes to activities including shows and sports.

An official grand opening is scheduled for the fall, Salayandia said.

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