August 25, 2010 – A fun place to relax, enjoy classmates and nibble on tasty food is a dream come true for students who delivered a plea to Fort Valley State University administrators two years ago.
“In 2008, the only student center I knew about was Lottie B. Lyons, ” said Dominique Nichols, Student Government Association vice president, “I knew plans for a new stadium and student center were in the works, but I said, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’.”
This year, FVSU administrators have made the students’ dream a reality: the brand-new Student Amenities Building celebrated its official grand-opening during an 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, Tuesday, Aug. 11. The 28,000 square foot facility houses two new restaurants – Quizno’s Subs and the first Chick-fil-A restaurant on a Georgia HBCUcampus. The new building also features a satellite bookstore the features FVSU t-shirts and memorabilia.
“This is living testimony that progress can and does happen,” said Nichols, to a crowd of 50 gathered inside the structure’s second-floor conference room, where the ceremony began. “I can’t believe we have something this awesome on campus.”
Behind the podium — a wall with picture windows provided guests an eagle-eye view of the year-old Wildcat stadium. Miss FVSU 2010-11, Jasmine Howard, welcomed attendees. Dr. Terrance Smith, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, credited the hard work of students and administrators for making the new student center a reality.
Donald A. Perry, vice president of corporate public relations for Chick-fil-A, promisedFVSU students service that “goes above and beyond expectations”. FVSU’s Campus Life and First Year Experience coordinator Brian Byrd, Director of Student Support Services Wallace Keese, Sodexo’s Marketing Director Katy Kash and General Manager Sanford Whitfield, all presented remarks about the partnership between the school and SodexoFood Services.
President Rivers thanked students for agreeing to help pay for the project.
Jared Tolbert, SGA president said that when he arrived in 2007, if students wanted to grab a healthy snack outside of the cafeteria, they had limited options. “Now, we’re proud to have a place where we can all call home, and grab something healthy. We can get a bowl of soup and a diet lemonade.”
After the 20-minute program, the crowd headed to the first floor for the official ribbon cutting. On the way downstairs, Chick fil-A representatives dropped door prizes to students from the second level: stuffed toy cows with parachutes, bearing their slogan: “Eat Mor Chikin (sic)”. Students enjoyed bite size food samples, face painting, music and fun. Later, the president, first lady Betty Rivers, and representatives from Chick-fil-A,Sodexo and FVSU’s Royal Court cut the ribbon.
According to Dr. Dwayne Crew, associate vice president of business and finance, the offices of student activities and the SGA will relocate to the new building. Space will be rented out to community groups for special events; and FVSU’s Athletic Hall of fame will be housed there. Due to budget constraints, the Lottie B. Lyons Student Center will not be renovated. Instead, it will provide additional office space.
To view pictures of the ceremony visit http://www.fvsu.edu/about/photos.
Christina D. Milton, editorial assistant
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