On the shore of Lake Osceola are palm trees, the occasional ibis and now the Student Activities Center (SAC), which is set to open in the fall of 2013.
The almost complete SAC will feature new dining options, a 24/7 study space and offices for student organizations.
An anticipated campus staple, the Rathskeller, will also have a new home in the SAC, according to Dan Westbrook, director of the University Center.
“One big feature that students are looking forward to is the new Rat,” he said. “It’s going to be two stories, and it’ll have a mezzanine just like the old Rat.”
The Rat will not be the only food option at the SAC. The first floor will include three new food services: a second Starbucks, Red Mango, and M2O, a made-to-order sandwich option. Indoor ATMs, a 24-hour study space and the law student center will be available on the first floor as well.
Upstairs, a large part of the second floor contains the student organization offices and a media center for student publications.
Student organizations that currently have offices in the University Center will still have offices once the SAC is built.
On the third floor will be a new ballroom, which will hold 600 to 1,000 people depending on individual event setups, and a patio overlooking Lake Osceola. The terrace will be available for events as well.
“The view of the lake from three stories up is breathtaking,” Westbrook said.
There are additional locations available for organization offices, but that information cannot be given at this time, according to Abel Champion, the chair of the Student Center Complex Advisory Council (SCCAC). Westbrook created the SCCAC to facilitate student participation in the planning of the SAC.
“The committee was created to ensure that the new student center was painted with student voice,” Champion said.
Construction of the SAC is on schedule, and UM administration expects it to open on time.
“The plan is still to have the opening that fall and there are no indications that we are going to miss that deadline,” Westbrook said.
Student Government President Nawara Alawa is optimistic about the new space.
“It’s a game changer for our campus and for student life,” she said.