New-look Wilk offers same old environment

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    By RYAN HAMILTON

    The renovation of the Ernest L. Wilkinson Student Center has brought new facilities and rearranged others.

    A gathering of student life services into one building is one outcome of the renovation.

    “It was a wise thing to do to centralize student life. It was to benefit the students and make it more convient to them,” Jerry Bishop, Director of the Ernest L. Wilkinson Student Center department, facilities services said.

    Many facilities in the WSC were not relocated but were expanded. Other facilities were relocated, and some services were moved in from other buildings on campus, according to Bishop.

    The Jacobsen Service and Learning Center, a new addition to the WSC, is opening its main office in the old Campus Scheduling office across from the Varsity Theater. The new center was started this Spring and is a joint project of academic affairs and student life. A press release reported that the new center’s goal is to, “promote and facilitate community service that provides students with meaningful opportunities for learning.”

    The renovation of the ELWSC also spurred the creation of many new student lounge areas.

    “Research suggested it was more common to have several lounges spaced out than to have one large lounge area,” Bishop said. Bishop said he believes that the new lounge areas allow small groups to get together and socialize easier.

    The individual lounges have also been given unique themes. The Den, located on the first floor, is a new addition. Some lounge areas currently in use will also soon be taking on new themes.

    The East lounge located on the second floor will be focused on the life of Christ. A large mural of Christ overlooking Jerusalem already adorns the South wall of that lounge.

    “We are excited about this lounge. It will let people know we are Christian,” Bishop said. The lounge will offer complimentary Books of Mormon and a missionary referral box.

    Another lounge area on the first floor between the Post Office and Outdoors Unlimited will be taking on a heritage theme. It will be used to display tradition and history Bishop said. Items for the lounge are still being gathered, but one display will show a bucket that was used for whitewashing the Y.

    An increase in the student population merited the addition of some new conference areas to the ELWSC according Bishop. A ceiling was put over the old cafeteria area, now the Cougareat, to accommodate a large conference room on the third floor.

    According to Bishop, the new conference rooms were originally planned to be built under the terrace lounge area, but the process was too costly and a large mechanical room is now filling that space.

    The renovation has modernized the WSC and brought it up to modern standards, Bishop said. Some new facets of the WSC include ethernet Internet connections in many of the lounges, and new sprinkler and safety systems.

    Bishop said he believes many new students and transfer students may not realize the magnitude of change that the WSC has seen.

    He recalled some of the challenges that came along with the drastic changes, including doing all of the cafeteria cooking off site and delivering it to the WSC to be served in the ballrooms.

    The new offices that have been added include the Counseling and Career Center, Student Employment, International Services, Services for Students with Disabilities, Women’s Services and Resources and the Student Honor Assocation.

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