By Margaret Rettinger
Despite the ongoing construction, the Trone Student Center is open for business.
Student organizations and clubs are using the newly renovated conference rooms, while many students are using the outdoor patio as a study space, thanks to its new furniture and beautiful lake view.
Anthony Carinci, Assistant Director of the Trone Student Center, says that the conference rooms have been booked solid Sunday through Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., since the school year started. Groups have even been turned away due to lack of available space.
The Trone Student Center, formerly known as the University Center, is in Phase One of its renovations. Phase One includes second floor exterior construction and interior renovation. It will be completed Jan. 1, 2013.
In terms of architecture, “Everything is going to be open. The idea of the whole building was to make an openness to it so that it’s inviting, it’s welcoming, it’s light—it’s all about light,” said Scott Derrick, Director of the Trone Student Center and Student Activities.
Phase Two of the project consists of first floor interior and exterior renovation.
It will begin summer 2013, and is scheduled to finish by Aug. 15, 2013 when the next freshman class arrives.
The planning process for renovations of the Center began in 2010. A committee comprised of university staff and architects worked for a year gathering student feedback for the project.
The renovations were made possible by Class of 1977 alumnus and Furman trustee David Trone and his wife June, who donated $3.5 million for the project. A $2 million gift was also donated by another Furman alumnus and his wife.
Since the upper floor of the building is undergoing construction, the flow of students has sharply decreased.
“Without having access from the second floor, traffic patterns are a little off… If people don’t have a reason to come here, it’s not a walk-through by any means,” said Derrick. But he predicts that once Phase One is completed in January, “the traffic will increase a hundred fold.”
In the Spring semester, the Trone Center will host a grand opening ceremony to celebrate the completion of Phase One. In the meantime, the Center’s staff is hosting open houses and tours of the newly refurbished facilities.
The staff of the Trone Student Center is confident that the final product will be “a wow experience” for the students.
“This place should be a fun place. A place to hang out, a place for students to call their own,” said Derrick.
Carinci agrees. “[When I first came to campus], I heard the library was the heart of campus. The library should be the academic center of campus, but this [the Trone Student Center] should be the social center of campus,” Carinci said.
Ongoing updates about the project can be found on the Furman University Trone Student Center Facebook page.