IMPERIAL — Smiles galore were on display at the grand opening of Imperial Valley College’s College Center on August 24, as the grand opening of the newly renovated student center was celebrated with food, music live and immediate use by students.
“College Center has always been a space to relax, dine, and hold various events,” according to the event program. The Center was opened on the first day of school for the 2022-2023 year, which was August 15 for IVC, including the new south wing expansion.
College Center upgrades include a remodeled kitchen, new furniture, a new “Amy’s Snack Shack” food service provider for the college, sensor-installed water fountains, more internet connection hubs and device charging outlets electronics, as well as the expansion of the south wing. The College Center’s 3,100-square-foot expansion is about double the size of its original design, which had stood since 1962.
“The expanded dining room will now be able to accommodate events and still accommodate guests who wish to dine at College Center,” according to the program. The Center will be equipped to have a seating capacity of 360, according to the program.
By all accounts, the improvements to the College Center were largely a student-led initiative, speakers at the events said.
“This project, which started a few years ago, is one of the greatest achievements in the history of ASG [Associated Students Government]said current IVC ASG President Itzel Landeros.
“This movement started in 2016 with a student expressing the need for a bigger hall for students to congregate as the college’s student population grew dramatically,” she said.
“It is important to recognize that without the dedication and passion of former students and student administrators, none of this would be possible today,” Landeros said. “The building you see in front of you today is a vivid representation of the impact that student voices and advocacy have.”
As the student population continued to grow, after about two years of student advocacy, the need for an expanded University Center became a priority for the college in 2018, according to the event program and board chair. from the IVC, Karla Sigmond.
Landeros said the upgraded, now larger building will allow students to use it for a variety of campus living-type activities, but it also “represents our ability to continue to build a more tight-knit community.”
“We’re just really excited,” Sigmond said. “It really is a proud moment.”
“This student center was all about student advocacy,” she said, “and as a board member and chair of the board, we listen to our students to make sure they succeed. .”
IVC Superintendent and President Dr. Lennor Johnson agreed.
“We always want our students to speak for themselves, tell us what’s wrong, tell us how we can approve – and some are very vocal -” he said, “but we don’t hear not everything, and that’s what we need When we hear all or a majority, that’s when we can really take action and make things happen.
“This (improvement at College Center) was because they were speaking out loud and convincing the entire campus community to support it,” Johnson said. “This (inauguration) is really special because his student led, and that’s what I love about it.”
Johnson said the “biggest thing” for students was having an air-conditioned space where they could congregate outside of class. He said it was essential to have a place for students to “hang out” because “many of our students are here from 7am to 9pm”.
Now, with the expansion set, Johnson said “the next thing would be for us to have some sort of entertainment here, maybe a foosball table or a play station, whatever they want. “
The students themselves had a positive view of the improvements made to the College Center.
“The improvements are pretty good. It’s much better than last time,” said Calipatria resident and IVC sophomore Joseph Melesio. “It’s much better than it was last time.”
“It’s a question of quality of life,” he says. “If that doesn’t seem to draw people’s attention to the fact that we have these new enhancements, it’s like, well, you might be worse off.”
Melesio said the improved center has brought students back to congregating in person, even “gamers come back and bring their laptops and TVs and Nintendos and so on.”
“I remember there was always this group of people who practically brought their whole room to school (to play video games together at College Center),” he said. “I hadn’t seen that in a while. It’s good.”
“For us being here…it kinda reminds me of high school, except we can really go at our own pace and whatever we do, we do now,” said Andres Mendoza, an IVC sophomore and resident. imperial.
“That kind of shows us like another good routine, coming into the air conditioning and enjoying it,” Mendoza said. “Even if you have your meal in a study hall or something, you enjoy it much more than if you had to sit on the benches in the heat.”
“(The upgrades) give you a nice, fresh feel to the college experience,” he said.
Mendoza, who is concentrating his studies in health sciences, said he was excited to see the upgrades to Building 2100 “Nursing.”
“We have a lot of projects that are almost done, so you’ll see us again,” Johnson said.
“It’s truly amazing to see the progress IVC has made for the community,” former ASG President Moises Hernandez said ahead of the inauguration.
“It really shows that IVC’s mission is to create equitable education for all students,” he said. “I hope all students can see the great work that IVC provides for all of you.”
“Enjoy College Center, it’s up to you,” Hernandez said.