Student Center, Welcome Center foresight future changes
Two changes are coming to UCC: An updated Student Center and a new Welcome Center. These changes will provide a single hub for student services and a resource for student engagement.
Staff looks to focus on improving the role of the Student Center, which serves as a place for many student activities. The goal is to make the building as relaxing and engaging as possible for students. In addition, the student center is the first place many prospective students visit.
Faculty recently sought to improve the atmosphere of the Student Center by making small improvements like adjusting lighting to the former cafeteria space.
Other changes are planned for the immediate future, such as increasing entertainment options to encourage students to relax and bond. “It’s really about providing the students a place where they can come in and enjoy some of their time here and engage with each other,” Jess Miller, director of facilities at UCC, said.
These efforts include the completed orders for a new gaming console as well as air hockey, foosball and ping-pong tables. These will be free and available for students to use to destress, relax and catch up with friends. The decision to acquire this recreational equipment was born from waning usage of the Student Center. “We noticed that students don’t really use the Student Center very much, so we looked at ways to engage the students,” Miller said.
Alongside the recreational activities UCC’s student government, ASUCC, wants to continue to provide the free grab-and-go food options. “We want to support students because we recognize that food is fuel, and what I want to do is extend our grab-and-go items, so students have what they need to focus on their studies,” Amanda Cerda, ASUCC president, said. “I want students to come in here and know that this is their space.”
Assistant Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Missy Olson has been in charge of leading the analyses on how to improve the Student Center. Many improvement ideas have been mentioned, such as including a stocked kitchen for student use. However, the cost and labor of creating water and sewage lines will be considerable because the building was not designed for multiple kitchens.
Alongside the renovations of the Student Center, the school plans to build a new Welcome Center. Many administrative will be moved to the Welcome Center.
UCC recently completed a due diligence report, meant to confirm details on the Welcome Center, requesting funding from the state for the new building. If the request is approved and the funds are raised, construction for a brand-new Welcome Center could begin in 2025.
Miller’s due diligence report for the Welcome Center included a price tag of $17.3 million. For reference, the total price tag for Tapoyta Hall was $4.5 million. The maximum amount of money a community college can request per cycle for a building project is $8.2 million. This may lead to future fundraising efforts because there would be a $1 million gap between what could be allotted by the state and what the building’s projected cost is.
Miller hired the Portland architectural design firm Mahlum to draft the basic details of the building. Currently, the proposed size of the Welcome Center is 26,000 square feet, more than two-thirds the size of the Bonnie J. Ford Health, Nursing and Science Center.
The Welcome Center will be in place of the current administration offices.
UCC recently hired the Oregon-based architecture firm OPSIS to survey campus in search of places to construct new buildings in the future. These sketches highlight a desire for a thriving and robust campus for the next generations. Refer to the Campus Development Plan (20 Years) to see the current plans.
For more information on the planned changes to the Student Center, contact Missy Olson at (541) 440-7865 or Missy.Olson@umpqua.edu.
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