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Penn State York opens new student center

Alyssa Jackson
505-5438/@AlyssaJacksonYD
  • The original student center opened in 1968 and served only 259 students.
  • Now with 1,100 students using the same facility, the college new that it's building needed an upgrade.

Penn State York celebrated the grand opening of the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center, or the Ruhl Center, on Wednesday, after a year of construction.

Forensic Science student Ja'nae Haughton looks at the mural on the lower level of Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center during its opening at Penn State York campus in York, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The project added a 28,000-square-foot addition onto the existing student center, which opened in 1968, and renovated the existing building. Because the student community center closed when construction began in October 2015, many of the students who are on campus have never seen the inside of the building.

But on Wednesday they were invited in after a ceremony at which David W. Chown, chancellor of Penn State York, Jennifer Nesbitt, associate professor of English, Patrick Tanner, director of student engagement, and Michelle Lin, student government association president, spoke. Students and other community members then had the opportunity to take a tour of the addition and see renovations in the older part of the building.

Josh Ritz, left, works to get around Adam Linker as students play basketball on the Multi-Activity Court, or "MAC", inside Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center during its opening at Penn State York campus in York, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“The new design provides students, faculty and staff with new experiences and improves their enjoyment of activities that continue from years past," said Chown in a release. "The old and the new are seamlessly combined, and the building exhibits a flair that is uniquely that of Penn State York. Everything — offices, meeting spaces, artwork, dining facilities, classrooms, athletic space, fitness space and recreational space — is vastly improved and will serve the campus quite well for many years to come."

The project, which cost the college $13.5 million, included an addition that will allow for off-season sports and intramural sports to practice, plus a group fitness room, according to a news release. There also were a number of renovations done on the existing part of the building.

For example, the dining area was updated and will see a change in name. The kitchen and food-service area, which was formerly known as the Lion's Den, will now be called Rosie's, and a new coffee bar will be included, called Cup O'Joe. The two areas are named after Joe and Rosie Ruhl, who were supporters of the campus and whom the building is named after as well, according to a news release from the college.

The gymnasium in the building, which opened in 1970, has been refurbished along with the elevator and bathrooms. Student-services offices, locker rooms and a concession-stand area were added.

Health and Human Development student Kalonji Coleman works his upper body at the Fitness Center inside Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center during its opening on Penn State York campus in York, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Students were a part of the building project as well. One Penn State York student, Luke Marsiglia, worked with Alexander Building Construction Co. as an intern while the company worked on a part of his campus. Marsiglia is studying electro-mechanical engineering technology and obtained the internship through the Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies.

“Everything was old, and they really revitalized it,” Marsiglia said. “This is the ‘old soul’ part of the building, and now with everything that has been renovated, it will become the focal point."