JONESBORO – Students at Arkansas State University have been asking for a new student learning center since talks began in 2018, but COVID-19 has put the brakes on talks.
However, they are now back on schedule and the delay allowed the university administration to find the space with the help and contribution of the students.
Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse on Monday afternoon announced plans to transform the former ASU Bookstore into a new student learning center in the Carl R. Reng Center on campus.
Damphousse said the administration wanted to give students a role and a say in the new learning center and the delay actually gave them that chance. With the bookstore now being renewed, space is available and large enough to meet the needs of students, Damphousse said.
Although layout ideas were on display, Damphousse said, âThese are just concepts. We still have the option of taking this blank canvas and painting the final space with our students. In fact, the student will even have the chance to help name the space. Maybe through a contest and some sort of vote.
The center will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said. It will be equipped with computers, printers, plug-ins, toilets and plenty of space for small groups and large meeting spaces. It will also include a coffee and snack area for students.
Student government chair Ellie Mayberry said the space would work well for a student learning center.
âIt is in the heart of the campus and close to student accommodation and parking for off-campus students and students from other campuses as well,â she said. âLike many students, I would rather be sitting in the student union to study because the library is such a hike, but here we can study or even print an important document at 3 am if we have to. The possibilities are limitless.”
Keyon Atkins, a senior, said the administration worked with us on the project.
âI appreciate that they really took our advice to heart,â he said. “It’s wonderful that you can go to college where your voice can actually be heard.”
Damphousse said there will be changes and continued debate on the final plans, but said he looks forward to the final results.