Student Center celebrates 40 years as campus hub

Photo by Ben Lipford - Students have many meal options throughout the day and into late hours, ranging from American food to Mediterranean cuisine.

Some Tech buildings have been around since the late 1800’s; others have only come into existence in the past decade. On Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010, the Fred B. Wenn Student Center hosted a celebration for its 40th year at Tech with free food, music and giveaways.

Throughout the day of the event, the Student Center hosted DJ’s, random giveaways and free T-shirts. Students could also take advantage of the Tech Rec for forty cents to play games and to go bowling.

The reception toward the birthday bash was large, with over 700 students in participation in events, contests and giveaways.

“The food, the music, free shirts and giveaways created the perfect setting for Student Center’s 40th birthday. Not that Student Center is not lively on regular days, but the event had its own charm and it was all superb,” said Sarthak Jaiswal, a first-year CE major.

Beyond promoting the Student Center’s decades of success, one of the major goals of the Birthday Bash was to assess the needs of students.

“It’s time to start thinking about a new Student Center. I mean, the Student Center is 40 years old, and it was built for the population 40 years ago, which was half of what it is today. We need more places to eat, and more places to meet with groups,” said Shawn Stinson, Events Coordinator for the Academy of Medicine.

The Student Center Directors and Coordinators seek student response and feedback for their present and future plans.

The Birthday Bash hosted a design contest where students could decide and present what they would want to see in a new or expanded Student Center.

“A lot of them did include expanding upwards,” Stinson said.

The future may hold a fourth or even fifth floor to the Student Center.

The Student Center, usually seen as the central building on campus, has offered numerous student services during its time at Tech.

When it first opened its doors to Tech in 1970, it had a cafeteria, a Music Browsing Room, the Craft Center, the ballroom, a movie theatre, meeting rooms, full‐service Post Office, an art gallery, a chapel, a table‐service dining area and several lounges. Additionally, the Student Center hosted a recreation area with twelve bowling lanes, a billiards room, table games, a video arcade and cards for use in the area.

During the 1996 Centennial Summer Olympic Games, the Student Center was used as a center of athlete services during the games. During this time, the Food Court became the VIP dining area, serving Heads of States and other distinguished guests.

The Student Center is ever changing to cater to the needs of Tech students and faculty.

Examples include the enclosing of the outdoor patio of the Food Court in 1986 to create a 4000 square foot, 350‐seat Greenhouse dining room; the expansion of the Post Office in 1987 to accommodate 15,020 mailboxes; and the expansion of the Student Center Ballroom in 1997 by 1,500 square feet of adjacent storage and patio space to accommodate larger campus events.

During this past year, the Student Center closed Pandini’s to add the first floor food court, which includes Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell and Subway. In the main food court, Café Spice and Zaya Mediterranean are the newest notable additions.

Future plans include expansion of facilities to accommodate the growing Tech population.