Student Center to debut at SSU
$62 million facility to open on Nov. 13
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By Natalie Gray  November 8, 2013 12:00 am

Fall seems to be the time Sonoma State University reserves for treating itself to massive and expensive unveils. Last year, it was the official opening of the Green Music Center and its inaugural season. This year, on Nov. 13, the school will open the gleaming glass doors of its new $62 million Student Center.

According to Casey Kelly, marketing coordinator, the Student Center was created to be a central hub of student and faculty life on campus. The three-story building will host an array of eateries, a study lounge, conference rooms, the offices for the housing, dining and Associated Students departments and the largest banquet hall in all Sonoma County.

“I think it will really bring the campus together,” said Kelly in a phone interview. “I think it’s going to create more spirit on campus.”

The 130,000 square-foot building of concrete and glass was first imagined in 2005 when a survey showed students were eager for a venue on campus that would allow for a university-cultural center. Plans were not set into motion until 2011 when students voted in favor of a $150 tuition spike to pay for the facility, and construction began just before the university’s recreational center.

The cultural hub of student life on campus comes with nearly every venue and facility a student could hope to utilize all piled on top of each other in one building. The school’s cafeteria, Zinfandel Dining, is getting a complete modernized renovation in the Student Center, expanding to multiple eating venues and rejecting the traditional cafeteria/buffet-style setup.

This new eatery, now named The Kitchens, will include The Chef’s Demonstration Kitchen where, as its name would suggest, students can watch with zoom-in cameras as chefs prepare food. There will be Slice, the pizza-option, a burger and grill joint Flame, a salad bar aptly named The Garden and Passport, where students can find international cuisine. The currently opened Pub will also be closing to be reopened in the Student Center as Lobo’s, with a music and performance space and hours of operation stretching from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

The college bookstore will finally be leaving its trailer-like location to a new 9,000 square foot Barnes and Noble operated location. The Student Center also promises students and faculty six rooms adorned with tables and video projectors for study and conference meetings.

The Student Center is to open at noon next Wednesday, offering free wolf-bucks (SSU on-campus, electronic currency) to the first 100 students to stop by. At the ribbon cutting will be University President Ruben Armiñana and Associated Students President Mac Hart to give speeches followed by a guided tour of the three-story facility.

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