KOKOMO, Ind. — Students returned to newly renovated classrooms, including nutrition labs and tutoring space, as the 2016 spring semester begins today (January 11) at Indiana University Kokomo.
The second phase of the $14 million renovation project is nearly complete, with 11 new classrooms, labs, and tutoring space ready for students to use.
New features include gathering spaces with chairs, sofas and tables – perfect for quiet study alone or group meetings – a video production room, and a nutrition lab – complete with five fully-stocked kitchens and computer screen to watch the instructor at the front of the room while preparing food.
In the lower level, students may take advantage of tutoring in the math resource center, a large room with moving tables and chairs, facing a wall of windows to provide natural light.
Anyone visiting the Main Building will be impressed with the results of the renovation, said Mark Canada, vice chancellor for academic affairs.
“IU Kokomo already provides students with terrific educational opportunities,” he said. “We’re thrilled to have even better facilities, such as the math and nutrition labs, in which students can enjoy these opportunities.”
Sophomore Marissa Centers, Logansport, spent time studying and preparing for classes in the lounge area near the main entrance. Those quiet areas are her favorite part of the Main Building.
“There are more places for us to work and study, or to relax between classes. It’s a nice place to be,” she said.
The Kelley Student Center bustled with students picking up textbooks at the bookstore, eating lunch in the Cougar Country Café, and participating in the first day of Welcome Week activities.
They filled bowls with caramel, cheddar, buttery, and jalepeño flavored popcorn, and posed by themselves or with friends for a caricature artist, who created portraits in two minutes or less.
More giveaways, including “good luck” bamboo plants, coffee, walking tacos, and cinnamon rolls, and activities such as canvas painting will continue through the week. These are some of the activities planned for students this semester, according to Maria Ahmad, coordinator of student life and campus diversity.
“These are the things college memories are made of,” Ahmad said. “You don’t want to remember these years as ‘I was always in the library studying.’ You want to have good times to look back on, too.”
After welcome week, Ahmad has free events to entertain, to inspire conversation, and to provide a chance to have fun with friends.
“Our hope is that as students attend these events, they will start to form a group of friends,” she said. “You get to meet other people, and make connections on campus, which makes it more likely you will come to campus, go to class, and make progress towards your degree.”
The Kingston’s Coffee House series continues from 6 to 9 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month in Alumni Hall, with free coffee and music, along with an open mic for aspiring singers, instrumentalists, and comedians.
The last Thursday of each month is movie night, at 7 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium. Students may text to vote on what movie is shown.
A new series, “DiversiTEA,” includes “hot topics and hot tea,” Ahmad said. Topics include Muslims in America on January 19, Black Lives Matter on February 9, disabilities on March 8, and immigration on April 12. All sessions are at noon in the Kelley Student Center, Room 130.
“We have all kinds of students,” Ahmad said. “Some want to do hands-on activities, others just want to relax, and we have some who want to talk. We have something for everyone.”
For more information and a complete list of student activities, go to iuk.edu/campus-life.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.