In 1968, the North Student Center was opened as the first officially planned college union at Kutztown State College. As the name implies, the North Student Center was located on the north or academic side of the campus with the intention of building other satellite college unions, particularly on the south or residential side of campus. However, the concept of building satellite unions never came to fruition.
The North Student Center was significantly expanded in 1992 per a student referendum, and the facility was renamed the Student Union Building. The original plan for the 1992 addition was scaled back because of budget constraints, and as a result, the construction was slightly reduced. This eventually led to the need to further expand the facility to meet the needs of a growing student body. In 2000 and 2001, two additions per a student referendum were added, totaling 28,500 square feet of new space. In May 2002, the University Council of Trustees renamed the Student Union Building the David E. McFarland Student Union Building in honor of the university's outgoing president.