The Rowan community was invited to hear about the progress on the new Chamberlain Student Center Expansion at a beam-signing ceremony near the entrance of Campbell library — the site of the $30 million renovation.
Back in 2016, the university announced they would be expanding the Chamberlain Student Center to accommodate for the continuous growth in the student population, as the current iteration was built in 1973, when only 6,000 students attended the school.
Given that the conclusion of the spring semester a little over a week away, the renovations will continue throughout the summer into the fall semester with it still on track to open in November 2023.
The next part of the construction will be the steel structures needed for the foundation of the building, which includes the steel beam Rowan community members signed on Wednesday.
Dr. Kevin Koett, vice president for student life and dean of students, was one of the speakers for the event and was impressed by the turnout.
“I’ve worked in eight different institutions in my career, loved every single one of them. We wouldn’t have this kind of turnout at those institutions. It speaks to the commitment of the students. The fact that the administration listens to the student’s concerns. I’m absolutely wowed by the number of people that have shown up and shown their interest, their commitment, and the fact that this is truly a team collaborative effort to happen. It just warms my heart,” said Koett.
Student Government Association (SGA) President Paige Bathurst also spoke outlining the association’s responsibility to represent the student body by listening to their needs and providing them the resources to succeed.
The expansion will include more meeting spaces for organizations including a new space for SGA, which will help them integrate easier with the rest of the students on campus.
“I think just seeing more space for students to collaborate and you know, the student center right now as we all say, it’s the hub of campus life. Students just sit there and study, they go there to eat and stuff like that. So just to see more students having a better and more modern space to sit around and have that space to hang out with their friends and stuff,” said Bathurst.
Many students are wondering when the sidewalk in front of the library will be useable again. While the fences will remain where they are when they move onto the library expansion part of the project, there is a plan to move the fences back just enough to allow students and faculty to utilize the sidewalk before the project is complete.
“Obviously we know that that’s been very disruptive to student patterns…. There will still be some fencing, but what we’re trying to talk to people about is how do we move it back a little bit so that the sidewalk is fully there for more of the safety of our students and their walking. But it will be there probably for another year with the library. We’re just trying to move it back so we can have the sidewalk,” said Koett.
Rowan Hillel senator Vincent Giasullo ended up there by accident and the sophomore political science student took the time to immortalize himself and his student organizations name on the beam for as long as the building stands.
“I did not come intentionally. I just ran into it. Yeah, so it’s very exciting that I get to put my name on here be a part of Rowan’s legacy,” said Giasullo.
While students graduating this spring and next fall will not be able to fully utilize the amenities provided by the multi-million-dollar improvement during their time as students at Rowan, underclassmen such as freshman environmental-science student Amanda Tarrach look forward to fully taking advantage of the new and improved student center.
“I guess just more like togetherness. You know, a lot of times we eat at Pete’s. Every morning… even though people don’t know each other, you find ways to talk to people,” said Tarrach.
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