Student Center delayed . . . again

The grand opening of the Student Center has been postponed until Wednesday, Nov. 13.   The opening date of the Student Center was originally set for Aug. 15, just a few days before the fall semester began. 

As students and administrators are aware, the opening date has been delayed multiple times in the recent months. Many question the reason behind the delay; whether it was because the date was an inconvenience to higher administration or simply a construction issue. 

The reason behind the most recent delay of the grand opening is entirely due to construction and underestimating how long it takes to construct a building of the Student Center’s size at 130,000 square feet. 

Another issue that has arisen out of the delay concerns the banner currently hanging on the building and displaying a Nov. 5 opening date. There has been much speculation of the cost of the banner, and how spending such an amount on something that now displays the wrong date may be affecting the budget. The ten-by-forty foot banner displayed on the side of the Student Center cost roughly $1,000, plus a small shipping fee. 

“I believe this [banner] was a good investment for two reasons: The banner is designed to act as a conversation starter and buzz builder for the opening of the building,” said Ryan Ernst, director of marketing and entrepreneurial activities. “When you consider how many people see the banner on a daily basis, it is actually an equal or better return on the investment that a more traditional campus advertising method.” 

Aside from changing the opening date of the Student Center, the issue of student fees and how the $62 million building was funded has come into question as well. 

Implemented prior to this semester was a referendum that mandated a 2.7 percent increase to campus-based fees, as well as a $150 fee added into the total amount due from students. 

These increased fees were put into place in order to compensate for the opening of the Student Center in fall 2013. 

Housing and meal plan fees that freshmen incurred this semester were increased due to the change in hours of residential dining, as well as the improvement of the service and experience freshmen receive with their meal plan. 

There will be specific venues that will be opening progressively throughout the spring 2014 semester as well. 

Overlook, which is replacing the University Club, and the new book store will both be opening in the spring. 

Lobos, which is replacing the Pub and Amici’s, is said to open within the two weeks after the building’s grand opening. 

“The plan currently is for The Kitchens, which is replacing Zinfandel dining and the Café, to open on Nov. 13. Next will be Lobos, which will open within two weeks of the building opening. Overlook and Weyden and Brewster (W&B) will open in the beginning of spring,” said Jessica Way, director of the student center and events. 

The purpose of building this new location on campus was to bring a sense of unity, as well as a place where students can gather and study together. 

Though there have been multiple unforeseen issues regarding construction, the Student Center now has a set date with grand opening celebrations that will take place from noon to 5 p.m.