As the new Ronald Tutor Campus Center finishes construction, students and faculty members who have been in the building over the summer say that the new facility will undoubtedly be the heart of campus life this fall.
The campus center does not officially open its doors until its grand opening on Aug. 26, but most of the center has been accessible during the latter half of the summer.
“We waited two years to see it and it finally opened. People are pretty excited,” said Patty Trinidad, a staff member at the Viterbi School for Engineering.
Student organizations have begun moving into their new spaces in the campus center and visitors can now view the expansive Trojan Family Room or eat at the open restaurants in the food court, including California Pizza Kitchen, Panda Express, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Carl’s Jr. and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
The outdoor patio provides additional seating for restaurant goers, which has received positive reviews from visitors to the campus center. The patio also connects the campus center to the newly renovated Student Union building.
“There’s more seating out here … You definitely have more options,” Trinidad said. “It’s just nice to have something besides The Lot to eat at.”
Despite the additional patio area, many have noted that the campus center is already getting busy. Alison Griffin, a junior majoring in psychology, said there are already lines in the food court, which could pose an even bigger problem when more students return to campus.
“On a busy day, in the middle of the day, I know that it’s going to be crowded,” Griffin said.
For students like Michael Soh, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering, the lines are already long enough to deter them from visiting during the day, when traffic on campus is at its peak.
“My friends and I get together to go at like 10 or something, when there are less people around,” Soh said.
Dawan Robinson, a senior majoring in aerospace engineering, said he believes the campus center is a vast improvement from Commons.
Commons, an older version of the student center that had a food court, mail stop and other department offices, was torn down two years ago to begin construction on the new Ronald Tutor Campus Center.
“When I think about Commons, it was dirty. The lines went from Commons to the shops. It was not a place to be,” Robinson said. “I feel like because there’s so much sitting space people are going to sit outside more here.”
Robinson said he believes the new campus center won’t just be a place to grab a bite to eat, but will also serve its purpose as an area for students to study and gather on campus.
“The study room is going to be open till 2 a.m. … That’s really nice because it’s in the center of campus. I feel comfortable here,” Robinson said.
Brent Stephenson, an alumnus from the class of 2003, said the campus center creates a place where students, faculty and visitors can socialize and interact.
“The outdoor seating is nice, the natural light and the green building there. The food court, I’m very envious,” Stephenson said. “It’s really much more of a hub.”