Long-awaited ECU facility opens today
The Daily Reflector
Monday, January 7, 2019
A crowd is expected at East Carolina University today to officially open the Main Campus Student Center, a multi-million dollar project started in 2015.
The 220,000-square-foot facility located near Joyner Library and Sonic Plaza will replace Mendenhall Student Center, and a 720 space parking deck will increase parking in an area where construction has aggravated motorists for three years.
While much of the construction is completed, the university announced that more time is needed to finish dining service areas, including inspections and brand-specific training. They are expected to open by the end of January.
The ribbon cutting is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the west entrance to the facility near the large ECU letters. Mostly sunny conditions and highs in the low 50s are expected.
Chancellor Cecil Staton and Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for student affairs, are scheduled to speak, and several special guests are expected. The event will include tours and refreshments.
The state-of-the-art facility was designed to become the new front door to ECU’s campus and serve as the living room for students, faculty, staff and alumni on ECU’s main campus, according to university administrators.
Many student-focused departments and organizations will move into the student center, including the Student Government Association, Student Activities and Organizations, the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center, the Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement, Greek Life, and the new ECU Women & Gender Office.
The center also features a theater, a 14,000-square-foot ballroom and a 24-by-42-foot outdoor Pirate Vision digital screen. Dowdy Student Stores opened there on Friday.
The six dining options will be available at the end of January.
The facility is part of the $170 million ECU Student Centers Project, which included the Health Sciences Campus Student Center that opened in May 2017.
Mendenhall, which cost nearly $3 million to build, was considered one of the most modern student centers in the Southeast when it opened in 1974.
The building will continue to house the WZMB studio facilities, along with a bowling alley. Portions of Mendenhall will be repurposed to include administrative and office space and a full-service catering kitchen for the university.
Events planned to coincide with the Main Campus Student Center grand opening include:
■ Winter Welcome Back, 4-7 p.m. Monday, with winter-themed novelties, attractions and free food (ECU 1 Card required)
■ Student Activities Board DJ, noon-2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, student center commons
■ Women & Gender Office open house, 1-6 p.m. Tuesday, second floor.
■ Power Hour: Daniel D (contemporary violinist and performer), presented by Coca-Cola, noon Wednesday, commons
■ Ledonia Wright Cultural Center open house, 1-6 p.m. Wednesday, first floor
■ Student Activities and Organizations open house, 2-7 p.m. Thursday, first floor
■ Men’s basketball game viewing (ECU at Memphis), 9 p.m. Thursday, commons
■ Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center open house, 1-4 p.m. Jan. 12, second floor
■ LGBTQ Grand Opening Celebration, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 12, ballroom