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Armstrong opening new student union
The new student union is near the corner of Science and Library drives on the Armstrong campus. - photo by AASU photo

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SAVANNAH -- Armstrong Atlantic State University will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its much anticipated, 60,180 square-foot Student Union at 11:50 a.m. on Friday, April 23. Friday's activities, at the south entrance of the new facility, near the corner of Science Drive and Library Drive on campus, will include a ceremonial burial of a 50-year time capsule as part of the celebration of Armstrong's 75th anniversary in 2010.

AASU President Linda Bleicken will join Vice President for Student Affairs Vicki McNeil, Student Government Association President Zerek Samples, as well as other representatives from the student body, faculty and staff for the occasion.

Following the brief ceremony that includes the ribbon cutting and time capsule burial, the building will be opened for an open house until 2 p.m.

McNeil said, "This new Student Union is a student-driven project from conception to design. Our student leaders have created a special place for all students, faculty and staff to come together as a community, create relationships, enhance personal development and build friendships that will last a lifetime."

Student input toward the construction of the facility began with a vote by the Student Government Association to approve a special student fee to completely fund the project. Student representatives provided direct input during the design process to determine some of the features and amenities that are included in the building.

AASU's new Student Union will serve as the central gathering place on campus providing programs and services for students and the university community. Located in the heart of the campus, the Union bridges the academic quad with the growing student residential community. The building includes:
• The 200-seat Ogeechee Theatre designed to host lectures, forums and film screenings
• The Galley, a full-service kitchen and 300-seat food court-style dining room
• New university bookstore
• Convenience store
• Coffee shop
• Lounge spaces on both floors with expansive views of the campus
• Outdoor plazas and signature water fountains at both entrances of the building
• The President's Dining Room to host special events

A Green Building
AASU seeks to achieve a Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design certified green building status for its Student Union. The process is currently underway to achieve a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Some of the green features of the building include:
• A ceramic cooling tower/chiller to reduce cooling costs to the campus
• A design that directs daylight into more than 75 percent of interior spaces
• A reflective roofing membrane to reduce solar heat gain in the building
• Finishing materials that use renewable resources like bamboo and natural resins
• The use of brick and concrete that were manufactured in the region
• The capture of refrigerant gases to prevent leakage into the atmosphere
• Removal of roadways/parking in favor of native plants and water features

The $24,260,000 facility is fully financed by the AASU student body. In 2007, the Student Government Association approved a $90 fee per semester to finance the full cost of the building. The fee went into effect in the fall of 2008. The AASU Educational Properties Foundation, Inc. issued the bonds to make the financing possibly. No state-appropriated funds or tax dollars were used to pay any costs associated with the building.

AASU Students
Educational Properties Foundation
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
Burt Hill Architects
Choate Construction Company
The Architecture Group

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