IVCC debuts $31 million student life center

A grand opening to showcase the Cyber Cafe and student Life Center project at Illinois Valley Community College was hosted Jan. 19.

Jerry Corcoran, IVCC President, describes the new areas as a “new chapter in the 92-year history” of the college. The Cyber Café, located near the front entrance in Building C, provides computers, free WI-FI, high top tables, lounge chairs, hot and cold beverages and snacks.

School officials believe the area gives students a place to grow in the community and socialize between classes. Students bonding together and staying on campus will help them become more involved in student life and grow as a whole.

When asked if the Cyber Café will help benefit students, freshman Krueger Keene of Mendota responded yes. Keene explained that the new café helps him see friends and gives off a bright  atmosphere, benefiting students socially and academically. “All around, it’s a win-win!” said Keene.

Down the hall from the Cyber Café, inside Building E, is the new Student Center. The Student Center consists of big screen monitors, computer terminals,  free WI-FI, soft seating, high-top eating, game rooms, conference rooms, offices for student organizations and a kitchen. According to speakers at the grand opening, this area promotes students’ freedom and encourages them to work  independently or together in groups.

In recent years at the college, no specific student life space has existed. The conference room allows students to hold their own meetings. The kitchen in the Student Center allows an open space for bake sales to be held, whereas before the sales were hosted in the cafeteria. Aside from academic benefits, the Student Center has a game room that allows students to release stress, have fun and socialize. Cory Tomasson, Student Activities coordinator, encourages the new space. “It allows the people involved in 40 plus clubs to have a work space that they can utilize. Everything here is to keep  students on campus and allow them to enjoy themselves. It provides a place to find out about events happening here on campus specifically dealing with students,” stated Tomasson.

The work to create this four year project finally came together culminating in the Jan. 19 grand opening. Corcoran says he is proud of everyone’s willingness to work together on this project. Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino broadcasted appreciation during the grand opening ceremony, when he said that this new enterprise is one of the greatest opportunities he has worked on. Mautino expresses that this is a “true student life center.” “I am an honored alumni and look forward to seeing my children graduate,” said Mautino.

While much of the construction money for the $31 million project came through state grants, students also played a role in helping finalize the project. “A lot of money came from student organizations. Student government approached student organizations and asked if they would be willing to give up their budgets to help fund this project. The rest of the money involved the state and grant funds. The money was well spent,” explains Student Trustee Austin Burnette. Speakers at the grand opening indicated that the expensive addition was worth the money to give students the opportunity to enjoy some of the best years of their lives. “College is more than classes. It’s about making memories,” said Melissa Olivero, chair of the school’s Board of Trustees.