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Alaska Pacific University partners make good on promise of new student center

The new lounge and fireplace at the Robert B. McMillen Student Center at Alaska Pacific University

The new lounge and fireplace at the Robert B. McMillen Student Center at Alaska Pacific University

Photo: Jennifer Pack

Alaska Pacific University opened the doors to its new Robert B. McMillen Student Center last week.

Students wanted a comfortable place to work, study, and gather and actively participated in the center’s design.

“We believe our strong sense of community is one of Alaska Pacific University’s greatest assets, and now it will be enriched even further,” said Paula Cerda, student body president. “The completion of the center demonstrates the university’s commitment to the needs and priorities of the student body.”

Saltchuk Resources donated $250,000 to create the center. Cornerstone Construction and RIM Architects also made significant contributions to the project.

“The completion of the student center exemplifies the power of strong community partnerships,” said Alaska Pacific University President Dr. Don Bantz. “The generosity of our donors allows us to offer students an extraordinary learning environment for the highest- quality education – in an affordable way.”

The center showcases a multitude of special design features, including a stately gas fireplace, a stage for bands and performances, and new wi-fi-compatible TVs for viewing news, sporting and entertainment events. Half walls and lowered ceilings complement wood laminate floors and earthy wall paint to create a cozy, intimate feel – while taking advantage of the grand space. Large windows along the east wall offer an impressive view of the mountain range.

The center is approximately 1,800 total square feet.

“The new student center is trendy urban home meets rustic cabin in the woods,” said Alaska Pacific University Dean of Students Kelly Smith. “Students can enjoy the perks of cutting edge technology with the feel of an authentic Alaska environment. It’s the perfect balance of convenience and comfort.”

The student center is conveniently located on the second floor of the Atwood Center on the Alaska Pacific University campus, providing easy access to food services and the student store.

Students got a sneak peak of the center prior to its official opening at a gathering to watch the country’s largest sporting event – the Super Bowl. The official opening was celebrated with a private ceremony and reception.

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