Student commons draws mixed reviews

Columbia College
is adding the building
for $4 million.
Monday, October 6, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:08 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Columbia College’s new $4 million, 24,000-square-foot Atkins-Holman Student Commons is the first building to go up on the campus for eight years, but its construction has prompted mixed reactions from students.

Shawn Riley, a senior, thinks the commons will change the campus’ focus and bring in new students.

“I think it will do a better job of accommodating night students as well as day because it will have a coffee shop and study lounges,” Riley said. “I also think it will become the main focus of the campus, and it should attract new students because it’s a brand-new facility.”

Chrissy Gramlich, a sophomore, looks forward to using the new commons.

“It will be nice to have everything in one place and not have to walk all over campus,” Gramlich said. “I think it will be beneficial to students as long as tuition doesn’t go up in the process.”

Even with the new luxuries, not all students believe the commons is the best thing for their campus.

Asad Khan, a junior, doesn’t like the location of the new commons.

“I think it will be a disadvantage because it’s farther away from the dorms,” Khan said.

Chris Patrick, a freshman, wishes the money would have been used for other things.

“Is it worth $4 million to build a new commons when there is barely anybody using the commons now?” Patrick asked. “They could use the money to upgrade the equipment we already have.”

Funding for the commons was made possible through a lead gift of $600,000 from Tom and Linda (Holman) Atkins of Columba and a $1.2 million challenge grant from J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation Inc., according to Columbia College’s Web site website. The building is named in honor of their parents. Linda (Holman) Atkins is a 1954 graduate of Christian College, the forerunner of Columbia College. TomAtkins served as chairman of the Columbia Board of Trustees from 1982 to 1999.

The college serves more than 10,000 students in its day, evening and online programs. The new commons, which will combine several student services into one complex, will be open to all of them.

The college broke ground on the new commons Saturday between Dorsey Hall and Missouri Hall near Bass Commons. The building is expected to be completed by next fall.

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