College Center Opening
Dec. 3, 2009 -- The mysteries that exist beyond the closed doors of Western State’s new, state-of-the-art College Center will be unveiled on Monday — at least in part.
WSC took over ownership of the recently finished $28 million building earlier this week. Since then, it’s been a mad dash for Bookstore Manager Teri Haus and her staff of nine student workers. Their task is to have the store, which was temporarily located in the basement of the Savage Library, moved into its new domain and dressed for students’ first peek by 7:45 a.m. this coming Monday, Dec. 7. The Bookstore will be the first component of the highly anticipated facility open for business.
But the move is easier said than done.
“Right now the hardest part is just figuring out where the light switches are,” said Haus, amidst a sea of moving boxes on Tuesday. “We don’t even really know where we’re going to hang clothing at this point, but we’re starting to figure out where things go on shelves and that type of thing.”
Full public access to the College Center is expected in early January.
The early opening for the Bookstore was deemed necessary because access to the store is essential at the beginning and end of each semester. Events like the popular “Book Buy Back” — coming Dec. 14-18 in the College Center’s ballroom — dictated the need for Haus and her team to get an early move on things.
Workers from Alpine Moving helped tackle the mountain of school supplies, books and merchandise that needed to first be relocated. Haus hoped that her team would be able to sort through that end of the move by late Tuesday, so setting up their new offices could begin by Wednesday.
The move has served as an insider’s chance to witness the College Center coming to life.
“It’s going to be pretty big ... there’s lots of room,” said Bookstore employee and WSC freshman Najji Mayberry. “We’ve got a lot of things that need to be organized, but I think we will be ready.”
The polished space that became the Bookstore’s new home isn’t much larger than its prior dwelling in the demolished Student Union. However, a professional architect who specializes in building college bookstores was called in to make more efficient use of the room.
“We can do fun displays and some different merchandising that we’ve never been able to do before,” said Haus.
It also means doing more business in less time. The Bookstore has upgraded to four cash registers, opposed to the two used in their previous locations.
But the Bookstore isn’t the only entity of the College Center that is seeing a frantic lunge towards a grand opening in February. Campus Security has already made the move into the new building and Sodexo food services is well on its way.
Some student organizations will begin the haul before Western goes on Christmas break, Dec. 14, while additional organizations begin a mass exodus afterwards.
The community movie theater, dubbed Ruby Cinema, is slated to fire up its big screen Dec. 18.
It’s been busy as a bee hive within the new 70,315 square foot building, but there’s a method to the madness, according to operations manager Svea Whiting.
“We’re being pulled in every direction,” said Whiting. “We still have a lot to coordinate on our end, but it has gone incredibly smooth so far.”
Since full access to the public won’t be allowed until early January, Whiting stressed the importance of the community and campus abiding by posted restrictions. For a virtual tour of the new College Center, visit www.western.edu/video/college-center-preview.