The doors of Sonoma State University's new Student Center will open on Wednesday, Nov. 13 for students, faculty, and staff with a grand opening afternoon celebration, featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony, self-guided tours, and giveaways.
The festivities begin at noon with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting featuring speeches from SSU President Ruben Armiñana and Associated Students President Mac Hart, followed by self-guided tours of the three story, 130,000-square foot building.
Free food samples, caricature artists, music, photo booths, and giveaways are offered throughout the afternoon, giving community members an intimate opportunity to explore the newest venue on the 269-acre campus.
Designed as a central location for social, recreational and cultural life at SSU, the Student Center includes a 4,000-square foot lounge area with open ceilings and a fireplace feature, state-of-the-art conference spaces, and the largest ballroom in Sonoma County that spans nearly 12,000 square feet.
Expanded dining options are among the most anticipated offerings of the new campus hub. With the exception of Charlie Brown's Café and the central campus eatery Toast, all of SSU's current dining venues will transition into new concepts at the Student Center. The traditional dining experience has been re-imagined to include multiple "stations" featuring unique foods.
Campus clubs and organizations will relocate to the Student Center, including Associated Students, Associated Student Productions (ASP), the Center for Student Leadership, Involvement & Service (CSLIS), and Join Us Making Progress (JUMP).
The contemporary building is a creation of San Francisco-based architects Hornberger & Worstell. Based out of Tempe, Arizona, Sundt Construction served as Construction Manager, and interior design was developed by San Francisco firm Alamosa Design.
The $62 million project is funded by a partner group including University Housing, Sonoma State Enterprises, Associated Students, the Student Union Corporation, and a $150-per-semester student fee passed by a student vote in 2011.
A NEW TAKE ON CAMPUS DINING
Expanded dining options are a centerpiece of the new Student Center, offering upgraded accommodations to the on-campus community of more than 9,000 students and 1,200 employees.
The Residential Dining Room will replace the existing Zinfandel Dining Room, which primarily serves students who live on-campus and whose food is provided through a meal plan. Zinfandel's outdated cafeteria-like format will be replaced with a variety of seating options and "stations" for unique food offerings.
Among these stations is the innovative Chef's Demonstration Kitchen, which introduces an instructional element into campus dining with daily lessons on food preparation. With cameras overhead to zoom in on the action, chefs will help to ease the student transition from eating at home to cooking for themselves.
No college campus is complete without a pizzeria, and the new Slice is poised to fill this need with a menu of pizzas, pastas, and salads. The first of two grill stations, Flame, offers a wide variety of burgers while its counterpart, Sizzle, is styled after a Mongolian BBQ with create-your-own stir fry options.
Healthy options are readily available at Garden, a mobile salad shop featuring fresh and local ingredients. Adventurous diners will enjoy Passport and its international options, ranging from Latin-inspired meals to authentic Thai dishes. Etcetera rounds out the station dining, with an "everything else" menu ranging from breakfast pastries to snack foods and espressos.
Retail dining options for the community-at-large include Lobo's Pizza & Pub, a new take on the ever-popular campus pub with extended hours - 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. - and a music / performance space.
For a slightly more upscale meal, Overlook is the answer. Named for its unique third floor view of the campus, Overlook is scheduled to open in Spring 2014 along with Weyden and Brewster, a marketplace-themed venue with grab-and-go-items, fresh baked breads, and pizza by the slice.
CENTRALIZED RETAIL AND SERVICE SPACES
The campus bookstore is poised for a major upgrade, leaving its current campus location for a new 9,000-square foot location on the second floor of the Student Center. Operated by Barnes & Noble, the bookstore will have expanded space for scholastic needs in addition to gifts and apparel.
Several campus departments are relocating to a centralized space on the third floor of the Student Center. Among those making the move are the offices of Housing, Catering, and Conference and Events, making their collective services more easily accessible to the university community. On the second floor, a full copy and mailing center provides a convenient locations for the many needs of the campus.
And, a variety of bookable spaces throughout the building will be available to students, faculty, staff, and off-campus community members. Six different rooms provide more than 4,000-square feet of meeting space with video conference capability, data projectors, and wireless connectivity.
The flexibly-designed Grand Ballroom can be used as one large venue - and at nearly 12,000 square feet is the largest facility of its kind in Sonoma County - or can be broken down into four smaller spaces, providing capacity for more than 1,000 attendees and a wide variety of events.
These new state of the art meeting spaces will provide more options for student organization and clubs to host a wide variety of events on campus. Capacitates will be greatly increased compared to current bookable spaces on campus. Student clubs and organizations will now be able to grow the size of their groups without having to worry about finding spaces to accommodate large group events.
For additional information about the Student Center, visit the website at http://www.sonoma.edu/studentcenter or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For regular updates and photos, find the Student Center on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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