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Renovation gives LSC students a place to form a community

Late last week, workers were busy with the final touches for Lake Superior College's remodeled and expanded Student Life Center. The college is hosting a public opening of the center today.

Lake Superior College
Burgher Office employee Kevin Givens of Eveleth installs a pedestal on a table for the new Student Life Center at Lake Superior College on Thursday morning. The new center opens today. [Clint Austin / News Tribune]

Late last week, workers were busy with the final touches for Lake Superior College's remodeled and expanded Student Life Center. The college is hosting a public opening of the center today.

"This gives students a wide range of opportunities," Roger Johnson, the college's director of student life, said. "It will give students an area to begin building a community here on campus."

The center includes an Internet cafe with a small stage for performances, open mic events and coffee service. Next door is a student lounge, complete with pool table, foosball and an entertainment center.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity to have a lounge," Student Senate President Travis Johnson said. "It's a place for our students to hang out, do their homework and have some fun."

In addition to the Internet cafe and lounge, the area includes the Center for Student Development, which provides students with numerous support and life skills services, and LSC's Intercultural Center.

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The Intercultural Center was formerly housed in a cramped, windowless, out-of-the-way room. The new, larger and brighter center is just off the student lounge.

"This is a very good place to hang out," said Akshay Parmar, a LSC student from Tanzania. "It's more open now -- there's more space for students to come in."

The center includes meeting space for student groups. LSC has more than 35 student clubs and organizations, Heather Grillo, LSC's student activities coordinator, said. She was hired in February.

"They wanted me to help students become connected to the school, community and each other," she said. "We're trying to expand our clubs and groups. The new center will help with that."

Having a first-class student center had long been a goal of LSC's administration. The move of student services to a new campus building finally freed up space for the center. Money for the $1.4 million, 11,000-square-foot project came from state bonding, from LSC and from the students themselves, who voted to increase their students fees by $1 for five years to help pay for the Internet cafe.

"I think it's a wonderful addition to LSC," college President Kathleen Nelson said. "It's the piece we've been missing. It's really exciting to see it come to fruition."

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