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Office of Student Activities and Leadership Almost Ready to Move in to New Headquarters

It's a hum of activity - electrical work, drywall, painting and other inside construction tasks.

Every day, the space that was formerly the University Bookstore is being transformed - into a modern, almost-8,000-square-foot home for Old Dominion University's Office of Student Activities and Leadership (OSAL) and student organizations.

The opening of the new office hub can't come soon enough for the staff members who have made use of cramped quarters upstairs in the Webb University Center for years.

"We work with over 200 student organizations and have done 373 events in the past year, including Homecoming, weekend events and Leadership activities" said OSAL director Nicole Kiger. The move to larger quarters "is big. It's very exciting. We can't move fast enough."

The new space will include offices for campus radio station WODU, the Mace & Crown student newspaper, Student Government Association, Student Activities Council, Center for Service and Civic Engagement, sororities and fraternities, and ODU Out.

The space will also include a conference room, sign-making facilities, the U-Center, a large common area/work room for student organizations and a kitchenette.

The OSAL staff moves into the new headquarters in January. A grand opening for the space is set for early February.

Webb Center is an invaluable resource for all of ODU, but the original building is almost 50 years old, said director Sue Mitchell. "This space we're in right now was built in 1964," Mitchell said. "The amount of services and programming being offered has grown exponentially since then."

Kiger said OSAL itself has grown measurably in her seven years there. "When I got here, this was very much a commuter school," she said. "There were programs but it wasn't a huge part of student life.

"Now, the student activities office plays a larger part in helping create an active and lively campus."

The campus has grown in many ways, through new residence hall construction, University Village and the new Student Recreation Center. But Webb Center remains the hub of campus, and was a logical place for the OSAL offices to be consolidated.

"We work really hard to try to accommodate all the demands that are placed on Webb Center," Mitchell said. "But at the end of the day, it's easy to remember that student fees support this building. Webb Center is all we've got, and it has to meet all these demands."

So the consolidation of the OSAL offices with the other student organizations will ultimately result in more efficient use of Webb Center space.

And students in ODU organizations won't believe how user-friendly their new space will be, Kiger said.

"We've designed the common area to be sort of a break-out room, where groups can spread out and work on whatever project they're tackling," she said.

Other little touches in the renovated space include a new broadcast studio for WODU with a window overlooking the South Mall of Webb Center, so passers-by can look in and see the deejays.

Between construction and new furniture/equipment costs, the new facility will cost approximately $1 million.

This article was posted on: November 23, 2009

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