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Comfortable chairs and a ping pong table in YVC's Hopf Union Building.

HUB project gives boost to student life

This spring quarter, Yakima Valley College students returned from break to be greeted by a transformation of the Hopf Union Building (HUB). After years of imagining and planning, the refurbishment of the building’s interior promises to reinvigorate student life. 

“Updating the HUB and the spaces our students use is a concrete way to show students that we value them and care about them enough to invest in them,” said Laura Yolo, a communications instructor who helped lead planning for the project in her former role as student life manager. “Students will have more options for study spaces for groups, more options for where to eat and a new activity area where they can relax and have a break from studying.”

The updated facilities provide a contemporary and cozy environment for students to study, unwind and form connections with their peers.” — Yadira Chavez, Yakima Student Council President

Chairs on wheels in front of table in YVC's Hopf Union Building
TOP: The new activity lounge in Hopf Union Building features ping-pong and pool tables along with comfortable, moveable seating. ABOVE: New chairs in the MLK Room will make it easier to reconfigure the space for different types of student activities.

Yakima Student Council President Yadira Chavez believes the project will help revolutionize the student experience on campus. 

“The updated facilities provide a contemporary and cozy environment for students to study, unwind and form connections with their peers,” said Chavez. “The renovation introduces fresh spaces for student organizations and clubs to gather and hold activities, cultivating a more dynamic and inclusive campus community.” 

Over the last several years, Yolo said she and student government officers gathered input from hundreds of students on how the HUB could better fit student needs today and in years to come.  

The $650,000 project, completely funded through a Student Project Reserves account, includes updated flooring, updated furniture, a new audio-visual system to support student activities on both campuses, and a new activity lounge in the HUB.

Modular seating in the Hopf Union Building
New furnishings in the HUB are modular to accommodate a greater variety of activities, and selected for their comfort and modern style.

New furniture was installed throughout the HUB in late March and includes more modular seating that can be easily rearranged to accommodate different sizes of student groups gathering. In researching which furniture to choose, YVC staff and students were intentional about choosing modern, stylish pieces that would be attractive to students.  

“The furniture will be more comfortable and versatile, making it easier to use for various activities,” said Chavez, who also noted that the new furnishings respond to the increasing need for students to have convenient places to plug in laptops, phones and other devices. “The portable chargers are another important tool that is helpful to students because they make it easier to have their devices charged and ready to continue learning.” 

Converting the former quiet study area into a student activity room also promises to be a boon for supporting a variety of student activities.  

Yolo noted that all the way back in 2018, student government officers proposed adding an activity room where students could play video games, pool, ping pong and board games. 

“A place to laugh and relax after a test or at the end of a long day of classes has been on the student wish list for a long time,” Yolo said. “That kind of space is important to foster community.” 

Circular tables with chairs in Hopf Union Building
Updated furnishings in the HUB include both tables with chairs and booth seating to offer students a variety of options for studying and socializing with classmates.

Given the flexible nature of the furnishings, the activity lounge will also be a place that can host movie screenings, presentations and a variety of other events once a new digital display is installed along the south wall of the lounge. 

Yet to come in spring quarter and over the summer will be the installation of a new audio-visual system. That system will include new digital displays throughout the HUB, upgrades to the building’s sound system to provide multiple zones that can be used independently, and new cameras and microphones in both the MLK Room and the Grandview Student Council office that will better support student meetings and other events taking place simultaneously on both campuses. 

Yolo said the previously available technology made it difficult to hear and see people in meetings across campuses. With the new audio system, the HUB will also have more flexibility in having different types of events in different spaces.

Portable charging stations in Hopf Union Building
Included in the refurbishment of the HUB are portable charging stations to accommodate the growing needs of students who use multiple devices throughout the day.

Ultimately, Chavez believes all of the upgrades will significantly boost student programming for years to come and making it easier for students on both the Grandview and Yakima campuses to engage in activities together will support student government’s motto “Two campuses, one community.”  

“This presents a great opportunity to constructively enhance students’ learning experiences,” she said. “The HUB refurbishment project will set a new standard for student life at YVC, enhancing the institution’s reputation as an exceptional place for learning and personal development.”

HUB Grand Re-opening Celebration

Celebrate the re-opening of the Hopf Union Building (HUB) on Friday, April 12, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. View the newly remodeled spaces and learn about improvements throughout the building, including a remodeled student lounge, dining area with new furnishings and a new gaming room with a pool table, ping pong table and more. Cupcakes and drinks provided.

Story and photos by Dustin Wunderlich, director of community relations.