By WILL WILLCOXSON
Students and employees are enjoying the new and expanded student life center at Northwest Campus.
“It’s my first time in here and I already love it,” said student Brianna Reyes, 22. “It’s fun, relaxed and I’m not pressured by rules.”
The center opened in Fall 2013, replacing the old bookstore. The former student life center was a small room with an office and some recreational equipment.
“It was essentially just a hallway, and nobody could really hang out,” said student aide Morgan Gottschall, 19. “There was really nothing recreational about it.”
The new center in D-201 includes a main lobby, a conference room, a recreational room and an outside balcony.
The main lobby contains four booths and tables, a reception desk and a TV for “Monday movie mania.” Each booth has multiple charging outlets for laptops and cell phones, providing an ideal site for homework.
“It caters to most needs rather well,” said student Dawndreia Reyes, 24.
The conference room contains a large table that can sit a group. The room is intended for workshops, teacher study sessions and club meetings.
There is also a recreational room with space for public hangouts. It includes an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and many board games.
“We try to make it a really colorful, happy environment,” Gottschall said. “Some students might have a class at 8 a.m. and then the next one at 4 p.m., and what are they supposed to do?”
The balcony portion won’t open until construction on the nearby science building has finished. The balcony will contain four outside tables.
The center was designed to give students and employees solitude, and it appears to be working.
“What we provide to the students is something I really enjoy,” said aide William Johnson, 21.
The center is still in a growing phase, not yet fully equipped for its potential, Gottschall said.
Still, Johnson praised its current status.
“As the center grows, new programs will be needed, and other improvements as well,” he said. “But the center is great as it is right now.”