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The new Student Center is the heart of UArts’ campus already.

Last spring, UArts’ new Student Center was completed— it was one of the most eagerly anticipated capital projects on campus. Formerly known as Gershman Hall, the Student Center is the first-ever official student activity hub in the university’s history. To students, it already feels like home. Designed by JacobsWyper Architects in partnership with Galia Solomonoff of New York’s Solomonoff Architecture Studio, the new addition took two years to complete.

Thanks to $1 million in grants from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, as well as a lead gift from longtime UArts supporters Harriet and Larry Weiss to establish Harriet’s Place: Larry’s Gift on the first floor, the Student Center is a one-stop-shop for social interaction, study, and recreation. Students are especially enjoying the addition of a student-run Saxbys Experiential Learning Cafe, which incorporates student designs in the cafe’s interior and gives students a distinct opportunity for hands-on entrepreneurial learning.

A brand-new School Store offers supplies, books, university gear, student and alumni designs and art, gifts, and more. Rounding out the new spaces on the first floor are student lounges and the Collaboration Hub, a communal workspace. The Student Center is truly the heart of campus, designed to encourage creativity and interaction within and across artistic disciplines.

“I’ve found the new Student Center to be a place I gravitate to on rainy days,” said Ariana Padilla-Rogers ’23 (Screenwriting). “I like to sit in the corner lounge space by the windows and watch Broad Street while I work on my schoolwork or play The Sims. It’s also nice to know that it’s a huge common space where I can meet and hang out with other UArtists and see people in all majors.”

Currently the home of Lightbox Film Center, the Student Center will also eventually house UArts’ state-of-the-art screening room. Additional construction phases will include an expanded and updated dining hall and a more accessible entrance from the street to the building.

In all, the renovation and additions to the building are more than an architectural upgrade—they improve quality of life and nurture a sense of community for students.

“The Student Center is a really cozy and inviting place,” Padilla-Rogers said. “Between Saxbys and all the new spots to sit and hang out, it’s definitely become one of the busier spaces on campus.”