The groundbreaking ceremony for the $52 million Stanislaus State Student Center renovation project, held on Feb. 8, included words from the last five chairs of the University Student Union (USU) Board of Directors, whose foresight and diligence played key roles in bringing the project to this seminal point.
The middle chair of the five, Turlock native Natalie Dykzeul, held the chair for the project’s pivotal moment. Her two years as USU chair included the passing of the student referendum to underwrite the project. Dykzeul praised the work of her two immediate predecessors, Emily Ruiz and Erika Santos, as well as the two who have continued as USU leaders, Hailey Holm and current chair Allysa Gonzales.
“The hardest part was the logistics, and how we reached out to the students,” said Dykzeul, who this May will earn her master’s in genetic counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her degree from Stanislaus was in biology. “We reached out to all the clubs and organizations, all the athletics teams and to housing to make sure they knew what was going on. It was a group effort doing the outreach.”
A student union referendum passed in 2015, and the fee that will underwrite the construction takes effect with the fall 2018 semester. The building is expected to open during the spring 2020 semester.
“A student center is much more than a place for social interactions and networking, although that’s a very important piece of what it’s designed to do,” said Stan State President Ellen Junn during the ceremony, standing in the same spot on which the new building will take shape. “Students, as well as faculty and staff, will come to find that a well-designed and well-managed student center is a place where classroom conversations can overflow and emerge with greater depth.”
During the renovation, the University Student Union as well as Associated Students, Inc., Student Leadership and Development and New Student Orientation offices have been relocated to Housing. More information on the project, including renderings, can be found on the project website: https://thenewstanstate.org/.