Aside from classrooms and dorms, one location at Missouri Southern is commonly frequented by students. The Lion’s Den in Billingsly Student Center recently got an upgrade with current and future students in mind.
On Thursday, September 5, modern furniture replaced the more industrial seating that had occupied the Lion’s Den for several years.
Originating with Student Senate officers, the goal of this project was to improve the dining experience for students. According to Darren Fullerton, Vice President of Student Affairs, student senators proposed the idea around January of 2019, and it was executed by Student Senate officers, along with Student Affairs and Business Affairs.
They worked with KI Furniture, which is a company that other furnishings on campus had come from, such as Jerimiah Nixon Hall and the student lounge in Billingsly.
The idea for this project had several motives. In addition to improving the seating for current students, it is hoped to help draw appeal from touring high school students considering enrolling at Southern.
“When everyone comes for college visits, everyone sees it, I wanted them to have a positive reaction when they come to campus,” said Student Senate President Sarah Schultz, senior international business, human resources management, and management major. “It’s brighter and I think it’s more inviting.
“Ever since I came to Southern, I always saw this area, and thought it could use a little bit of work and updating,” Schultz said.
The idea for the project began in spring of 2019, before new senators came into office, according to senator Reid Davis, junior emergency medical services major He said that made it a bit of a trying effort to organize and execute things, but that since there were some senators that carried over from the spring, it helped streamline the process.
When considering this project, senators discussed it among each other and other students to gather an idea of what they wanted.
“I wanted to make it more modern and match the rest of the school,” Schultz said.
The new furnishings include a variety of tables and seats, including bar-top tables, square and rectangular tables, along with plastic seats and couches. Bar-top tables even include electrical outlets for students who work while they dine.
According to Fullerton, the cost of the renovations was approximately $69,000.
Student Senate allocated $25,000, there was a private donation of $1,500, and Student Affairs and Business Affairs covered the rest of the cost.
Since the change, there has been a positive reaction from students.
“I like the colors. They match the school,” said Victoria Washington, sophomore pre-med biology major. “It’s different but a nice different.”
Sophomore biochemistry major Kyle Keller likes the modern look.
“I think it’s great,” he said. He was glad to see the changes and thinks the improvements will lift student morale.