BY ROSS COYLE
Members of Green River Community College Student Life broke ground at the campus site for the new Student Life Center Nov. 21.
The new building will replace the Lindbloom Student Center, which has outgrown its capacity since it was built in 1971.
The Lindbloom Center accommodates a cafeteria, a bookstore and recreation rooms along with student services such as counseling, government and financial aid, which puts quite a strain on the existing structure.
Some offices need room to grow but haven’t been able to because of crowding in the building, according to school officials.
“If everybody is in the office where student leaders work, you can’t move around,” said Jaquie Chamberlain, a student who volunteers in student government. “Having the extra space and having it all in one area will be good.”
The 65,000-square-foot building is to feature a number of new areas, including those being moved from the Lindbloom Center. In addition to the bookstore, stage and dining area, the new building will have a computer bar, a fireside lounge, a larger fitness center and a multicultural center.
“We live in half a building now, and we have to figure out how to have a large band on campus and counsel students,” said Dani Chang, dean of campus life.
Chang said that Sam Ball, the school’s director of capital projects, is the main person behind the center’s start. Ball helped coordinate architects for project designs, engaged student focus groups for input on the center’s features and made sure that the project’s phases were progressing on schedule.
The most important part of the planning? Making sure the students were involved.
“We learned years and years ago to really get the people involved,” Ball said.
To facilitate this, Ball commissioned a number of student representatives on campus to act as liaisons in planning meetings with staff and the architects. Now that the school has adopted the plans, it plans to open bidding from contractors on Dec. 12. While Ball said there isn’t a clear figure, he estimates the center should cost about $31 million to complete by the end of 2014.
Students funded the project by taxing themselves through a series of fees that began at $20 in 2007 and have increased to $45 over the past four years. The students elected to tax themselves to raise 45 percent of the funds and the college filled in the other 55 percent.
BELOW: Green River Community College students and officials break ground at a ceremony to launch the construction of the school’s new Student Life Center, which will replace the Linbloom Center. Ross Coyle, Kent Reporter