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New student center

Abby Arsenault, News Layout Editor

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For the past year the students and faculty of Saint Anselm have watched as the school’s student center has been torn down, and then built back up. Expected to be finished near the end of this coming spring semester, the new student center promises to be an improvement to the campus.

William Furlong, Associate Vice President of Facilities, has been with this project since it was proposed years ago, and said that it’s one of the biggest he’s done in the thirteen years that he has been at Saint Anselm.

Furlong also said that the project is on track to be finished in early March of this year. “It’s right around where we thought it would be,” Furlong said. “We thought it would be mid-February to early March, so right now it looks like it’s going to be March.” Furlong also said that the project was on budget, but declined to say what the exact numbers regarding that were.

While the school said that the project is currently on schedule, many students are growing impatient with the speed of the construction. “I’m pretty sure they have a rule that no more than four people can be working on it at a time,” Sophomore Matt Raymond said. “I cannot believe they hired the slowest construction company in the world!” Senior Andrew Schue added.

However, other students are more excited to see what the building has to offer. “I can’t wait to use the new study spaces,” Sophomore Cassandra Moran said. “Maybe it will mean the library will be less crowded.”

When completed, the new student center will boast a number of new additions aiming to improve campus life. A large portion of the lower level will be dedicated to student clubs, something that was not a part of the old structure.

“I’m really excited about it,” Furlong said. “It allows not only student government, but all the student clubs that didn’t have a home, to now have a space and I think that’s going to be a great thing for them.”

All the organizations and departments that were previously housed in the Cushing center will now have improved spaces better qualified to suit their needs.

Also included in the lower level will be the mail center, which will be attached to a new game room. The game room will include seating, pool tables, foosball tables, as well as TV’s for students to plug in their own gaming devices.

The first floor of the center will include Campus Ministry, the Meelia Center, the Multicultural Center, as well as a new café. The café will not have a full kitchen, but will be supplied with food and drinks from Davison Hall. Furlong could confirm that the café will take meal plan money once it is fully operational.

Another change coming with the new student’s center is the placement of the bookstore. The bookstore will be two stories, and will be accessible from the first floor, as well as from the south side near the lower campus green. As for the bookstore’s old building, the school is currently in the process of turning it into a welcome center for prospective students to meet with admissions before going on campus tours.

One of the biggest additions coming to the new building is the new auditorium. The auditorium will be able to hold a maximun of 250 people. This puts it right between the Koontz theatre, which can hold approximately 560 people, and the Perini lecture hall, which can seat approximately 125 people. Furlong said he hopes to see the space used for shows and lectures once it is completed.

With the windows currently being installed and the outer walls almost done, the building is expected to be weather tight within the next few weeks. That means that project will be dealing strictly with interior construction by the time snow arrives.

Once the inside is ready, all the clubs and offices that were displaced during the construction will gradually be moved back inside. Furlong said the school aims to move necessities like the mail center and health services during Spring break to avoid any problems with the student body.

In addition to its new functions and larger spaces, Furlong said he hopes for the new student’s center to be a social hub for Saint Anselm College. “I think the way it’s designed and how it’s set up will foster an even better community here. We want to make it active. One of the features that it does have a three-floor atrium, so it will be connected from the bottom floor all the way up. What it’s designed to do is to make it so that students and faculty and staff can come together and intersect.”

Overall, Furlong hopes that this new center will be a welcome addition to the campus. “The student center that we had before wasn’t really serving our community. This new student’s center will be a place where people can go, and hang out, a place where they can see other people, place where they can grab a coffee and maybe do some studying on the soft furniture.”

The bookstore is set to open earlier than the cafe and study spaces, but once the entire building is finished a ribbon cutting ceremony will be scheduled to celebrate the new addition to Saint Anselm’s campus.

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New student center