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Saturday, March 19, 2011

WSSU to build $25 million Student Center

WSSU will break ground on student center

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Winston-Salem State University will break ground soon on a new student activities center that will give students more meeting and office space.

The 96,000-square-foot building will relieve some of the congestion at Thompson Student Services Center, which also houses several administrative offices and the main dining hall.

It will cost $25 million and take about 21 months to build.

Money for the new center was approved several years ago and will be taken from the university system's capital projects budget. That money is not related to the money in the UNC system's operating budget, which is facing severe budget cuts, said Nancy Young, a university spokeswoman.

"Those are two different pots of money," she said. "You can't take money from the building fund and put it into operating funds."

The center is one component of a strategic plan to provide students with a "transformative experience" at WSSU, said Aaron Singleton, a university spokesman.

"The Student Activity Center will play a major role in creating a greater sense of community among students, faculty and staff by providing space for activities outside the classroom," he said.

A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Friday on campus, with construction starting shortly after.

"Over time, Thompson just couldn't keep up with all the demands," Singleton said. "There is some meeting space there, but as enrollment grew and students worked on more projects and were involved in more clubs, they needed more meeting space."

Thompson, which has 107,000 square feet, opened in 1996 when enrollment was 2,700 students. Today, there are more than 6,400 students at the university.

"It was designed for the enrollment at the time," Singleton said of Thompson.

The new center will be adjacent to Thompson. It will include some dining space, fitness areas and office space for student government.


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