With much of the basic framing of the new Abraham Student Center finished, a construction worker, who goes by the name of “Jaime Jaime” starts to remove the scaffolding.
Current students at the University of La Verne cannot begin to imagine all they will gain from the new Abraham Student Center. Now, all students seem to notice is the lost parking. However, in fall 2009, after the building has been in operation for two months, the students are going to be impressed by the services, architecture and vibe.
The first floor has many appealing accommodations for students, faculty and grad students. Three glass double doors welcome students into the grand lobby, which has a roof that spans two floors.
“With all the glass and open space, we want to take advantage of Southern California’s beauty,” Chip West, director of the Campus Center said.
One particularly anticipated drawing point of the first floor is Barbara’s Place, a new café that will seat up to 30 students, both inside and on the outdoor patio.
“Surrounding the patio will be sculptures and artwork to enhance the multicultural facet of the building,” Charles Bentley, ULV spokesman, said.
Additional services will include the campus bookstore, lounges with billiard tables, 60 laptops and an elaborate amount of comfortable furniture. The second floor, also furnished with lounge areas and high-end Macintosh computers, will primarily house offices and classrooms. This will help perpetuate the notion that the building will live out its name as a true center for the campus.
“The goal is to have classes in the building at all hours—Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” West said.
The third floor, which contains half the floor space as the other levels, will serve as a multipurpose area for dances, conferences and programs. Students and faculty alike will be in awe of the breathtaking mountain-view from within, as well as from the outdoor patio.
As for the unique style the building will exhibit, it has been a culmination of ULV building needs and the architect’s vision that have brought forth the final product.
Unlike the Hanawalt House, which has architectural restrictions due to the time period and culture that it reflects, the Student Center is free from aesthetic limitations, West said. The University is taking the opportunity to expand its image.
Though the sleek, glass intensive structure does not necessarily reflect the current architectural theme of the campus, it certainly holds true to the mission statement.
“Part of our mission is not only to look at the environment; it is to introduce students to the methods of improving it,” Bentley said.
“If we’re going to teach this, we must use our own footprints as a guide.”
ULV is practicing sustainability through many of the features of the new Student Center.
“Not only is the glass used earthquake resistant, it also preserves the inside temperature,” West said.
Furthermore, the building will be landscaped with drought-tolerant plants, a new trend in sustainability, which will cut watering costs.
The construction process is surprisingly green as well, West explained, since the waste is recycled instead of simply discarded.
“We’re getting greener by being forward thinking, by saving money, power and resources,” West said.
Not only will the building itself reflect the green statement, it will also house numerous organizations that strive to preserve the integrity of the University.
Organizations and services that will have a home in the center include the Office of Student Life and Multicultural Affairs, various Greek organizations, ASULV, CAB, the Learning Enhancement Center, Career Services and the Dean of Students office.
Since many of the old office and organization locations will be vacant come fall 2009, the empty spaces will be converted to much needed classroom and administrative office space.
Campus organizations look forward to the Center since it will give them a new beginning.
The Campus Activities Board currently is housed in the bookstore building, a location many students are not aware of.
“I’m excited to have an office that will feel like home,” said Kaitlin Eckert, philanthropy chair for CAB.
Having offices in the new Student Center will also make group organizations easier to locate and attend.
“The new Student Center will help make students more aware of our existence, since many do not know where to find us,” Eckert said.
“With a more generalized location, we may be able to get more students to join.”
Since 1891, the University, then called Lordsburg College, has featured various centers. From the old Lordsburg Hotel, to Miller and Founders Hall, students have all congregated in one central area of campus, Bentley said.
“The Abraham Student Center will be our campus living room for years to come,” Bentley said.
Though students may not be able to see the completed picture right now, students attending the fall 2009 orientation will be in for an impressive start to a new campus and a new way of socialization at the University of La Verne.
Lesley Michaels can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.