By Curt Yeomans
Clayton State University's first group of on-campus residents will get a new place to play and socialize on Sept. 12, when the school's Student Activity Center officially opens its doors.
For the last two weeks, university officials have been gradually moving offices and workout equipment into the building, while construction workers put last-minute touches on the facility.
Officials believe the addition of the center, and the new student housing complex, will work together to bring life to the university at all times of the day.
"This is going to be the funnest place on campus," said Cindy Lauer, director of wellness and recreation at Clayton State. "Actually, I think it's going to be the coolest place. I just know that once this building is open, it will be full of life."
Even though the building will be open to student use a week from now, the university has scheduled an invitation-only, ribbon-cutting ceremony for Sept. 18, at 10 a.m. The building is located next to CSU's soccer field and tennis courts.
The center is 62,000 square feet in size, and costs $17 million to build and furnish. It has two high school regulation-sized basketball courts; a two-story workout area; two group exercise rooms, office space for the university's student newspaper, and the campus life and student activities departments; a café; a game room, and a 5,000-square-foot ballroom.
One of the advantages to having the facility is that the wellness and recreation department can expand its intramural sports programs, Lauer said. The department's intramural offerings were limited in the past by space and availability issues, when the department was located in the university's Athletic Center. The department also had to share the facility's basketball court with the university's basketball teams.
"With the courts [in the Student Activity Center], we at least have one facility to use whenever we want," Lauer said. "We can now add, and expand, intramural sports like basketball, volleyball and badmitton."
Darius Thomas, president of CSU's Student Government Association (SGA), toured the facility on Friday, with Audreianna Smith, vice president of the SGA, and Dr. Brian Haynes, Clayton State's vice president of student affairs.
As he looked around the ballroom in the facility, Thomas was hard pressed to single out a particular reason why he liked the building.
"I can't say one thing stood out the most," he said. "It was the whole facility for me. I am very impressed with the structure."