College Center opens today

The new $30 million, 100,000-square-foot College Center on the Mesa State College campus opens today.

The College Center at Mesa State College officially opens today, giving students and faculty a place to commune in dining areas, study halls, offices and meeting rooms.

The new building is twice the size of the one knocked down last February and has a variety of new amenities.

While some underclassmen have no memory of the old College Center, Student Body Vice President Dillon McMillen remembers it all too well.

“It used to be like a dungeon. There was no natural light,” McMillen said.

The new center is full of nearly floor-to-ceiling windows and has an open, spacious layout.

“If you were here for the old College Center, you appreciate this so much,” Admissions Counselor Whitney Bonner said.

Amenities include plush furniture, a ballroom, student club and activity offices, terraces with outdoor furniture, a lounge with a fireplace, study areas and an activity lounge where students can play video games on flat-screen televisions and shoot pool.

Some may wonder what a spot to play Xbox has to do with higher education, but college spokeswoman Dana Nunn said it has more to do with college than one may think.

“It’s all about recruitment and retention. Today’s students expect a good rec center and a good student center. Otherwise they won’t start or they won’t stay,” she said.

The College Center is also home to two cafes and the dining hall. The Jazzman’s Cafe has Starbucks-type offerings like gourmet coffee and muffins, while the Bookcliff Cafe offers breakfast and lunch fare a la carte.

Bookcliff features pizza, salads, drinks, sandwiches and a featured item that changes every week and always includes Colorado-grown ingredients.

Jeffrey Cooper came to Mesa State last year after 27 years working for restaurants in California, including one run by Wolfgang Puck. As the college’s executive chef, Cooper oversees the “top-of-the-line” dining hall, which incorporates energy- and water-efficient technology and has a daily special, a Mongolian grill-style wok and other exotic fare.

“Students’ eyeballs are rolling in concentric circles and their tongues are hanging out. It’s amazing,” Cooper said.


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