Windgate Design

Workers along Martin Luther King Boulevard and Hill Avenue block off part of the lanes as the Windgate Art and Design facility construction continues. The building will be for the School of Art, consolidating classes currently spread across campus.

As the school year begins, students may notice ongoing renovations to 1021 West Dickson Street Food Court, David W. Mullins Library and the Windgate Art and Design District.

Construction teams have renovated the food court in light of record-breaking student enrollment, including an outdoor patio for students to eat and spend time between classes. They have also added additional seating inside the dining hall to accommodate the increased number of students, according to the Facilities Management Website.

At this point, the project is complete beside a few finishing touches, including outdoor swings and furniture to complete the space, Chartwells UA marketing director Kenzie Cvar said.

Underneath 1021 Food Hall there are new graphics from the UofA’s partner Favoriteville and Food on The Hill marketing team. Because the team at 1021 loves to partner with local artists, it is slowly adding more murals and graphics in and below the dining hall, Cvar said.

The new market features a Grab and Roll cooler where guests can meal trade. Another addition in the space is the Slim Chickens, which moved from its previous location under Founders Hall.

“The new Slim Chickens space will soon have Transact Mobile Ordering Food Lockers so that way you can order your food and just pick it up using a code from the app,” Cvar said. “The space under 1021 is a great new addition with more seating and truly, one of the best views on campus.”

The UofA was able to add new locations in Founders after creating new spaces under 1021. Curry Corner was important to the UofA to ensure that the university offered Halal chicken for guests who dine Halal, Cvar said. Lastly, the university changed sushi partners to FujiSan, which provides sushi for Sam’s Clubs across the country.

“Having record breaking enrollment this fall, this project came at a great time to accommodate for more people on campus,” Cvar said. “As a company, we love to innovate and bring new experiences to our guests and therefore, we jump at any opportunity to provide something new to the University of Arkansas community.”

Phase 2 of Mullins Library, which includes floors 1 and 2, is set to begin after the fall semester. Mullins employees are preparing for the transition once renovations begin. For the students and community, it will not have an impact until next semester, library technician Artlyn Brazell said.

Planning for the transition is an ever-evolving plan, Brazell said. Right now, the staff plans to move the help desk to the fourth floor and relocate departments in the library.

The new renovation will include a cafe, an improved Special Collections division and Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts department because the team received a donation to include these enhancements, Mullins director of public relations Kelsey Lovewell said.

The UA team’s plan for this aspect of the renovation includes a dedicated exhibit and gallery space, an updated reading room, a classroom and better climate-controlled storage for all the material stored in Special Collections, Lovewell said.

Right now, Research Collections is closed to the public while employees transition to their new space in room 329 of the library. The reading room of Research Collections will remain closed until Sept. 6, when it will be open by appointment only.

To reserve material that is needed or to set an appointment, the best way to contact Research Collections is by email at specoll@uark.edu or phone at 479-575-8444.

Mullins Library was partially renovated once in 1997 and the UofA student population has nearly doubled since then, so in addition to modernizing the building, the Mullins team has to make the space work for twice as many students, Lovewell said. It has also increased the number of materials available for students and built a facility called LINX, the Library Annex, to hold the physical materials during the renovation.

“We planned this renovation to happen in two stages so that Mullins Library will never be completely closed for any significant amount of time,” Lovewell said. “After the renovations are complete, we’ll be able to accommodate more students and faculty than ever before, and we’ll have more and better resources to offer them.”

A construction team is also expanding the UA School of Art with the Windgate Art and Design District facility to add 142,600 square feet. The project will benefit both the students and faculty, campus planner Michela Cupello said.

The Windgate expansion is currently undergoing construction for phase 1, which is the first half of the project. This phase is mainly construction and primarily focused on classrooms and education for the UA community, Cupello said.

The project is undergoing construction on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Hill Ave. The UofA has a current budget of $55 million for the expansion.

Windgate phase 1 is currently under construction without a clear finish date, Cupello said. The Windgate team is still refining the design process for phase 2.

The planners are currently working together to decide everything that will be included in the design of Windgate, as it will focus on the community of Northwest Arkansas along with the students and faculty, Cupello said.

Cupello said she thinks the Windgate expansion will greatly benefit students in the art department.

“(The art department) will have a brand new space for them and it will affect those in the community because of phase 2,” Cupello said. “They are expecting a gallery in that space and are expecting the community to visit the building. It will improve the experience both for the students, faculty and the community.”

Creating a gallery in the Windgate Art and Design District intertwines the two worlds of students and NWA community members who appreciate art.

“They are hoping that the community will appreciate the presence of it and come visit (the gallery),” Cupello said. “That will be a good destination point for the community.”

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