Students discuss possibility of new Student Center

By Will Wright

[email protected]

Words such as “ugly” and “dated” were thrown around at a focus group about the state of the Student Center Thursday afternoon.

The group was composed of design students who have been working on a project to redesign the Student Center. The focus group was one of several held Thursday.

Students discussed placement, layout and dining options within the Student Center with a representative of Brailsford & Dunlavey, a program management firm that has worked with nearly 400 higher education institutions. Matthew Bohannon, senior project manager with the firm, will recommend a plan of action to the administration.

“These focus groups enable us to look at the breadth of issues of this building,” Bohannon said.

The next step after the focus groups will be to send out a survey across campus to determine what students want in a student center.

Bohannon kicked off the focus group by asking the students, “When you first came here … what was your first perception of the Student Center?”

The responses were predominately negative.

The students said the building sits so low compared to other buildings on campus that it doesn’t stand out.

“Is there another place on campus that is the ‘living room’ of campus?” Bohannon asked the group.

The W.T. Young Library was said to be a “living room” of campus by the students.

They said the design of the library facilitates group activity, and that makes it more compelling for students.

The Student Center doesn’t have a good place to study in groups, they said.

The students said the library is laid out in such a way that they see people they know, but the Student Center’s layout is confusing and does not promote a feeling of community.

The students recommended adding places to eat in the Student Center, including more options for vegetarians.

They said that more dining options like a bakery, a salad bar and more healthy options would be an improvement.

The students not only want places to eat, but places to pick up groceries like bread and milk.

They also said prices in the Student Center’s Quick Stop were too high, and it closes too early, along with the rest of the Student Cener.

The students did not think the Student Center was entirely bad. They said that the Ballroom and the atrium look nice and are a historically important part of campus.