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Student Center remodel

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The Student Center has always been the main hub of student interactions at SMSU. Campus dining, the Mustang Zone, and the Barnes & Noble bookstore help to create an engaging environment for students. Even with its current amenities, the Student Center is set to be remodeled this summer. This is not the first time in the Student Center’s history that the building has undergone significant change.

Known originally as the Mustang Paddock, the first Student Center was damaged by fire in 1971, eight years after the university’s founding. According to the SMSU Campus Life webpage, arson was suspected due to confrontations, assaults, and disturbances that had been occurring at the winter carnival that was taking place on campus. However, no one was charged.

The second Student Center suffered a similar fate in 2002, when welding on a conveyor belt in the dining area caught fire. The center itself was damaged, and the adjoining Food Service building was destroyed.

In the aftermath of the fire and the resulting smoke that spread around campus, SMSU began rebuilding. SMSU’s former President, David Danahar told SMSU Today, “The fire allowed me to do some things that I might not have had the opportunity to do.” According to SMSU Today, the university spent over $150 million to rebuild and renovate its campus. The current Student Center, which was completed in 2005, was among the first of these renovations.

The future of the Student Center is in the hands of Chartwells. According to Tom Hemmy, Director of Dining Services at SMSU, the Student Center will be more handicapped accessible and provide more seating due to the removal of the stairs, pillars, and walls.

“There will be more seating than in the past, and Resident Dinning will be more inviting for students and visitors,” Hemmy said. “Other than the usual increase due to inflation, students won’t see a jump in meal plan price due to the renovation. Chartwells is paying for the remodel over the next five years.”

The circumstances of the current remodel may be different than those of the ones that have occurred in the past, but the idea of change remains the same.

“I think the upcoming remodel is exciting for students,” said Olivia Wermers, a senior education major. “There is going to be a lot of work [in the remodel], and it will be something we have to adjust to.”

“While my motives for returning to SMSU will not be based on the Student Center renovations,” said Dylan Curfman, a senior broadcasting and digital media and public relations major. “I certainly look forward to seeing how it turns out during my visits next year. I think Chartwells is making a great investment that will benefit all who choose to dine on campus.”

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Student Center remodel