Students at Coastal Carolina University are one step closer to never having to leave campus for their entertainment.
With a movie theatre/auditorium, game room, lounge space and a courtyard, the first phase of expanding the Lib Jackson Student Center is only part of what CCU has in store for its students.
“We are here for our students and without them we wouldn’t be here,” said CCU Pres. David DeCenzo. “This expanded student center is highly-anticipated and needed.”
Students and CCU staff held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday to celebrate the start of the project.
Also included in the 39,000-square-foot, $12 million addition will be conference rooms and retail services, as well as areas for student organizations to meet. A courtyard area between the existing center and Annex I will include an area for entertainment venues. The front facade of the current Student Center will be remodeled to include a rotunda lobby and lounge.
Stacie Bowie, vice president of finance, said the new student center is slated to open in October 2014.
“We had hoped to have it ready for students in the fall, but October it will be ready,” she said.
After phase one is complete, the university will start looking at an additional $12 million expansion.
“That project is not even funded yet and we do not have a start date set,” said Eddie Richardson, project manager for the new student center.
Phase two will feature more meeting spaces and a ballroom for special events.
Debbie Conner, vice president of student affairs, said the student center is something that the university has needed for many years.
“I have been on campus for 20 years and I know we have needed it at least since then,” she said. The first student center wasn’t really a place for students on campus, but rather the homes of faculty, Conner said.
“Students held meetings off campus at faculties’ homes until in 1966 when the Atheneum Hall was built,” she said. “That was the first student center and it stayed the center of activity until 1979 when the Lib Jackson Student Center was built. At that time we had only 1,700 students and 100 faculty.”
Conner said the student center serves many purposes on campus.
“Our student center is home to a lot of people on campus,” she said. “This addition will be an even better home for our students and the students to come.”
Whitney Comer, director of student activities and leadership at CCU, said over the past year the university got a lot of student input for the new student center.
“We wanted to see what the students wanted and what the student organizations needed for space, so we asked a lot of questions and had the students make a wish list,” she said. “Most, not all, of the items the students wanted were able to make it in the building.”
The items most students were very excited about were the movie theatre and the recreation center.
“Our game room now is very small and is always packed,” Comer said. “So for the students to have a space big enough to accommodate them, that will be great.”
The new recreation room will offer new pool tables, televisions, couches, tables and arcade games.
Comer also expects the movie theatre to be heavily used.
“We want to have some kind of movie program that shows films Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and for the space to be available for other events during the week,” she said. “That will be a great space and the students have already said how excited they are for it to open.”
A number of campus programs and offices will also be moved into the new center including student organization space, a computer help desk, international student services, women’s services, the career center and the multicultural student services office.
“All of our 180 student organizations will have access to some space in the student center so they can print things or hold small meetings,” Comer said. “That is something we don’t have now that will be a major benefit to our students.”