Emory Student Center opens doors
After watching the Emory Student Center taking shape for nearly two years, the campus community is invited to step inside and experience the expansive new facility.
The center opened its doors on Monday, May 6, providing a first-hand glimpse into the new structure, which houses an array of student-centered features, including a high-tech gaming and recreation lounge, a spacious new food center, a convenience store and innovative spaces for studying, collaboration and student engagement.
In addition to providing a central location for student-centered services, the new building contains a large multi-purpose space, which can morph from a series of six meeting rooms into a sweeping ballroom that can hold up to 1,400 guests, with overflow space for another 200.
It is a work in progress, to be sure. Some furnishings have yet to arrive, food service hasn’t started, offices are still being unpacked, and several artistic installations are scheduled for later this summer — including relocation of the popular Emory postcard mural near the temporary DUC-ling, which will find a new home here.
But as for how the space will look and function? That much is obvious — and impressive.
With clean, modern lines, the three-story facility stands tall on the campus landscape, featuring north and south pavilions connected by an internal third-floor skywalk. If it feels especially roomy inside, that’s because it is — about 117,000 square feet, as opposed to the 70,000 square feet of its predecessor, the Dobbs University Center (DUC).
The interior is open, airy and light. And nearly everything was influenced by student input, from the furniture and flooring to the overall color scheme and patterns of the textured upholstery, says Ben Perlman, director of student center operations in the Division of Campus Life.
“In terms of creating a new place for community-building, programs and events, it’s going to be incredibly impactful, with a lot more inviting, flexible spaces for students to gather and collaborate,” he says. “But it’s also a space for everyone.”
Considered one of the most energy efficient buildings on campus, the Student Center employs 400-foot-deep geothermal wells dug into nearby McDonough Field to help heat and cool the facility, and several of the exterior glass walls boast solar-tracking shades to block the heat of the day.
Look upward to study a constellation of LED lighting – some conventional, some architectural and artistic. Glance outside for sweeping views of campus, with perspectives you may have missed, including the original front façade of the Alumni Memorial University Center (AMUC), once again exposed to the light of the day.
Outside, roses are already blooming in the open-air plaza — it’s actually a green roof — that stretches between the new student center and the AMUC. Soon, outdoor furniture will join the mix.
Although the grand opening isn’t until this fall, campus employees are already moving into new office spaces as the building prepares to host an array of summer meetings and conferences, says Perlman. Food service will launch later this month, but public seating now offers inviting nooks for studying and socializing, as the new facility begins to awaken for business.