Western Kentucky University, Downing Student Union Expansion and Renovation

Bowling Green, Kentucky

  • FIRM

    RossTarrant Architects


    Western Kentucky University

  • AREA

    240,000 sq.ft.





This comprehensive renovation of Downing Student Union (DSU) transformed the 1970 building into a thriving campus hub.
A new three-story atrium was created in the heart of the building to bathe the interior in soft, natural light and provide centralized circulation between the first, second and third floors. A new public entry on the northwest façade features a grand ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMMackey Mitchell ArchitectsCAPACITY3,438COST PER SQ FT$258.33FEATURED IN2015 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation stair with intricately detailed benches and railings, gleaming terrazzo floors, and gorgeous views overlooking the athletics complex.
The DSU is the primary food service facility on campus, and much of its first floor is dedicated to dining. Options range from formal to food court to grab-and-go. A large auditorium also is situated on the first floor. Student activity and lounge spaces, study areas, recreational spaces, meeting rooms, and student organization offices fill the second and third floors. The campus bookstore is on the ground level to provide easy access for fans visiting the athletics complex.
This project was carefully phased so that the building could remain operational throughout construction. It was designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.