<< back to the March 2006 North Texas Insider


Large group of people attending Union Fest activitiesThe answer is B, 30 years. The University Union was dedicated on March 7, 1976, providing North Texas students, faculty and staff with nearly 200,000 square feet of space to study, listen to music or watch television, eat lunch or just relax between classes.

UNT's current University Union is the campus' third building for student activities. The university's first union was an Army service center building bought by the Board of Regents and rebuilt for $75,000. Called the Memorial Student Union, the building was dedicated March 31, 1949, in memory of World War I and II veterans. It contained a bookstore, meeting rooms and post office, in addition to a cafeteria and coffee shop. Its most popular spot was the Western-themed "Howdy Room," with its balconies, wagon-wheel chandeliers and rustic furniture with faux cowhide upholstery. The Howdy Room was the site of dances Wednesday evenings and jam sessions Thursday afternoons.

In 1964, the Memorial Student Union was demolished to make room for a larger, $1 million building. Facilities in the second Memorial Student Union included a 32-booth snack bar, a 63-booth cafeteria, more meeting rooms and a larger post office and bookstore.

By the early 1970s, the Memorial Student Union was more than a place for dances, meals and mail. A student organization, the Student Activities Union (now the University Program Council), brought movies and performers such as John Denver and Helen Reddy to the University Union and sponsored off-campus trips.

By the fall of 1973, an expanding student body had outgrown the Memorial Student Union. The building was enlarged, renovated and renamed the University Union. A $7 million L-shaped addition increased square footage from 8,800 to almost 200,000.

When the renovated union opened in 1976, it contained showers for commuting students, music and television lounges and a pub, the Rock Bottom Lounge. While the Rock Bottom Lounge and other facilities are now gone, many more have lasted and evolved including the Syndicate, the Bookstore and the Campus Chat food court.