Renovations for the highly anticipated Student Center facility are expected to begin this May, bringing a tremendous shift to campus life with several new features and spaces that will enhance students’ experience. The Vanguard Student Center will include a new cafeteria model, gymnasium, fitness center, commuter spaces and a variety of lounging areas.
Dr. Tim Young, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, holds the responsibility of creating environments that allow students to thrive and oversees the strategic vision for facility operations. Young has also played an imperative role in initiating the conversation for a new facility.
“One of the things that I have always talked about with my cabinet is that we are not as competitive in terms of our facilities, the student experience is awesome, but our facilities don’t compare. So, we are trying to create facilities that match the student experience,” Young said.
In the past two years, Daniel Toro, Director of Facilities Operations, has also been working diligently alongside Young to develop the renovation plans.
“The goal has always been looking at a place that can facilitate community. For us, what was important was creating an experience of community that redefines something for Vanguard that we are not only proud to host, but [experiences that] people are really enjoying,” Toro said.
Toro also suggests the new building will help emphasize one of the core values of Vanguard: community.
“One of our key aspects about this campus that draws people in is our community, and that’s one of our selling points that sets us apart,” Toro said.
The communal and wellness spaces, as Toro describes, will meet the various needs of the student body. The gym design alone will accommodate up to 800 people in a conference style setting, almost double the maximum capacity of Newport Mesa Church.
“[The new space] provides a bit more leverage of what the student body can host here,” Toro said.
According to Toro, the overall preconstruction planning process essentially began with the building’s design and formulating a budget, all of which is already completed.
“We are 90% done in the process…Even if we weren’t to start in May, we’re committed to this project,” Young said.
Students have also influenced various elements of this building. From student government to commuters, suggestions and opinions for the facility were well received by members of administration. In addition, a sample of 50 students were selected last year to attend a series of group meetings and deliver their voice and perspective, according to Toro.
“Last year when we were planning the design phase, we created user group meetings and had an entire demographic sample of students..[where] they were speaking to what they wanted to see in the design of the building…and so it was very conceptual early on and the students gave us a lot of good feedback that we built into the design efforts of the building,” Toro said.
Young appeared ecstatic for the new building and acknowledges the generosity of donors that will help make this project a reality.
“I’m really proud of the direction that Vanguard is going in right now. President Beals has done a good job at building engagement in the community and building relationships [that can] invest back into Vanguard, and that is a real sign of health. I think this is really going to be a game changer for our campus and for our students,” Young said.
After being involved in executing renovations for the Scott building, Toro views the Student Center as a turning point for Vanguard’s facilities. “This next project, we’re starting to see a stride being built and once we get into stride we’re going to see where we run,” Toro said.
The anticipated finish date of the Student Center is August of 2019.