While a successful student's path toward realizing an educational milestone involves many factors — it has much to do with personal discipline and commitment, for example — an often overlooked part of the equation for academic success and social growth is a positive learning and living environment.
Shining bright from its perch overlooking Lake Nipissing at the corner of College Drive and Monastery Road, the Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU) Student Centre now serves as a beacon of promise, providing that environment as "a defining feature on the approach to campus, welcoming students and visitors while symbolizing the importance of the student body at Nipissing University."
Asked if the new digs will be used as a place to launch student tours, NUSU Director of Services Warren Lindsay says he instead prefers they finish there. "They'll tour campus and end with a bite to eat," at the centre's Bay Bistro restaurant.
While post-secondary education is designed to provide all the ingredients for success, it's invariably what one makes out of it that counts. The new student centre delivers a safe and modern environment where the ingredients of higher learning can be crafted into a gourmet meal.
On a sneak peek guided tour for media Wednesday led by members of the NUSU executive, their eagerness to show off this welcome addition to life at Nipissing is evident. Upon first inspection, it is clear NUSU's brand new $13.8 million student centre is bursting with promise.
Lindsay admits he is still finding the end result of over 10 years of planning, financing, and construction to be "amazing. It is something that is absolutely necessary, not just on this campus, but every campus across Canada."
It is evident how much the facility means to those who have toiled to help bring its construction to completion. What means so much more is the promise the spaces in the building hold for socializing, collaboration, and personal growth.
"It's a space for students to come, not just to work, but to study and socialize and interact on campus. It is a huge part of the student experience," Lindsay adds.
In 2008, the Nipissing University students of the day voted to help fund a new student centre. In 2016, former nightclub and eatery The Wall ceased operations, leaving the school without a true student centre since. Canadore College has since turned the space into classrooms and a fitness centre.
The nearly 32,000 square-foot Student Centre was designed by North Bay's Mitchell Jensen Architects. The building is functional, bright, and welcoming with natural light beaming through large windows at every turn.
There are several lounge areas equipped with comfortable yet durable furniture complete with an abundance of connections for devices, study nooks, an atrium, office space for NUSU, a restaurant with an outdoor patio, a nightclub, which will double as an event space, and a student quad with outdoor seating. Also included is a space for the student food bank, which can be accessed through the NUSU office.
The Bay Bistro restaurant and On the Rocks nightclub both feature dividers allowing them to be partitioned into smaller rooms with dedicated lighting and sound but will not be opening until 2022 as officials remain mindful of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Included in the photo gallery above are some shots of the amenities that will be available as of September 20 to Nipissing students, faculty, and staff. The space will be open to the public and the wider Lakers community as public health measures allow.
NUSU and Nipissing University have invited the community to an online student centre grand opening this Friday, September 17, at 3:30 p.m.
“We would have liked to have held an in-person grand opening; however, we are hoping that our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and North Bay community join us in celebrating this milestone,” said NUSU President Joe McIntosh.
For those unable to attend the Student Centre opening or walkthrough, you can view it virtually by going to nusu.com/studentcentre.