Town hall meeting provides student center details
Oct 04, 2021
An artist rendering of the new student center is shown by President Warmack during the town hall meeting.
A new student center is what Claflin University has in store for students.
The university hosted a town hall meeting in a hybrid format (via Zoom and in-person) on Sept. 30 to discuss plans for the new student center, a referendum and student concerns.
“This is the home of the new student center,” President Dr. Dwuan J. Warmack said. The center will be at the corner of Goff Avenue and Magnolia Street.
The proposed timeline for completion of the student center is 18 months after the start of construction. The estimated opening date is around April 2023.
The center will be open to the community and “serve a lot of purpose for us,” Warmack said.
The student center will be 90,000 square feet with three floors. Outdoor seating, as well as stairs outside leading to the third floor, will overlook the parking.
While the center will take the place of what is now the High Rise dormitory parking lot, “ample parking for large events and activities "will be available at the student center and down near Clark Street, Warmack said.
The first floor will feature a food court where students can use their Panther bucks (university dining dollars) to buy from the fast-food options. The three to four fast-food chains that will be in the student center have yet to be determined but a survey was administered to students to see which would be the best fit.
The first floor will also have a movie theater, food pantry, bookstore, lounge area and hair care center.
The second floor will hold the student engagement, activities and affairs offices. This space will also serve as a place for a display of student artwork, conferences and studying, with comfortable seating and computers.
The third floor will have a ballroom that can be split into three different rooms and hold more than 800 people, an arcade and E-sports room. “This will be the largest entertainment space in Orangeburg County,” Warmack said.
Some other features include:
-Patio seating/rooftop seating
-Loading dock for food services and events
It will be “a state-of-the-art building,” Warmack said. “The community needs that and we need that as well.”
Student Government Association President Lauren Tolbert, SGA Chief of Staff Justus Jenkins and Student Activities Board President Zhariah Walker have proposed student payments for upkeep of the new student center.
“If we want the best experience as a student and alumni coming back, we need to invest in it,” Tolbert said.
The fee for the student center would be $150 per semester in order to cover the maintenance of the building. “It will increase the longevity of the building,” Tolbert said.
The athletic and cultural fee would increase from $118 to $268. $200 will go to the Student Activities Board.
The increase would allow for a “greater variety of events on campus and a more valuable homecoming experience, "Jenkins said.
Walker said students often come up to her asking why Claflin doesn’t have as many events as other schools.
“The simple answer is the money,” Walker said. “The $200 will allocate for a lot more like meltdowns and other events that aren’t parties.”
Both the initiatives will go into effect in the fall of 2022 if approved by the Student Senate.
Other topics to note:
Wi-Fi -- Associate Vice President Joey Brenn said the information technology department is meeting weekly with Spectrum in order to resolve the poor connection and bandwidth issues on campus.
Currently IT blocked WhatsApp, PlayStation, Xbox and Netflix from connecting to the server in order to free up bandwidth. On Friday’s at 3 p.m., these programs will be unblocked until Monday at 6 a.m.
The temporary solution is to connect to Spectrum and bring up an additional Wi-Fi route in order to control the traffic between CU Guest and CU Panther.
Public safety -- Director of Public Safety Melvin Williams encouraged students to hang out in the plaza (seating section right outside the dining area) instead of on Goff Avenue. The encouragement comes after an incident on Goff Avenue resulted in a bullet going through a student’s window. The student was unharmed.
“Campus safety is everyone’s responsibility,” Williams said. He wants students to work hand and hand with Orangeburg Public Safety to promote a safe campus environment.