Students, faculty, and construction workers gathered around Florida A&M University’s newly renovated University Commons building on Feb. 12 for the grand opening ceremony.
FAMU officials gave thanks and informed university stakeholders of the plethora of services the Commons building will now serve. The Commons will feature an academic technology lab for writing and studying math, conference rooms with video conferencing capabilities and an electronic teaching facility. The building will also include an eatery, the Magic Johnson Grill 155, in the place of where the Orange room once was.
“There is a lot of planning that goes on in making projects like this one a reality,” said President James Ammons. “We want to thank Ms. Hardee and also Mr. Barker and show you our appreciation for your efforts and making sure that this project comes to fruition.”
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Cynthia Hughes-Harris talked about the state of the art additions the building will include.
“Not only will this renovated facility be home to FAMU’s enterprise and information technology division, it will also serve as a stepping stone toward a more technologically advanced student body here at FAMU,” Hughes-Harris said.
“This facility, with its location in the center of the campus, brings state of the art technology to our students, to our faculty and to the university community,” Ammons said. “I think it’s going to be a hotspot for FAMU.”
President of Data Set Ready Inc., the company that installed the building’s networking system, Garry Simmons commented on their work.
“We kind of based [the design] around the use of the building,” Simmons said. “We designed it around the students using the labs to study and have resources to do work on campus. In addition to that we added some other security features like a card access system.”
Some students are glad to see the building finally completed and appreciate more than just the technological additions.
“We get tired of the Café. I love the Rattler Nest, but we sometimes want something different,” said Raquel Jones, 19, a sophomore nursing student from Jacksonville.
A new place to eat was not the first concern of every student.
“To be completely honest I don’t care for the Orange Room, or whatever they’re calling it this year,” said Ezekiel Muse 19, a sophomore criminal justice student from Deerfield Beach.
“That money could have been spent on the dorms that need to be renovated,” he added.
However, Hughes-Harris is confident the building will create a better FAMU.
“Here at FAMU, we are indeed committed to developing technologically profound students and this facility is just another factor that will ensure we reach that goal,” Hughes-Harris said.