Dr. Richey at podium with students at new Student Union windows
February 04, 2019

EFSC Dedicates New Student Union

View more dedication photos on the EFSC Flickr Site

February 4, 2019 - An exciting new chapter in student life began Monday at Eastern Florida State College with the dedication of a new Student Union on the Melbourne campus.

Melbourne Student Union dedication with crowd of people and tentCollege officials, community leaders and students gathered for the event that marked another major step in the college’s continued growth.

College President Dr. Jim Richey called the building a vibrant center of student life, giving students “a place to gather, relax, study, and participate in Eastern Florida’s rich collegiate experience.

“In fact, many of our students provided their input for the design,” said Richey. “You can see many of their ideas in this very special building that contains sleek glass walls, inviting open spaces inside and out, and all the areas for our students to plug into their digital lifestyle.”

The Student Union includes a food court with five vendors, study and lounge areas, offices for student government, and a large multi-purpose room for student, college and community events.

"It has been a wonderful experience to transition from something small to something so nice and big," said EFSC student and Melbourne Campus Student Government Association President Jean Szurka.

"We have had a lot of students since the building opened coming in and out of the office and have met a lot of students we probably wouldn’t have if we weren’t here."

Dr. Richey at podium with students at new Student Union windows
EFSC Presdent Dr. Jim Richey speaks at the Student Union dedication as students and the college mascot look on.

Richey described the building as “an impressive structure in shape, form and function, and will serve students and our college community in valuable ways for many, many years to come."

He also said the building symbolizes something important:

“The distinctive growth, fundamental changes, welcoming attitude and student first-approach that Eastern Florida State College stands for as we continue meeting and hopefully exceeding the needs and expectations of our students and community.”

Richey cited several examples, including about 60 new academic programs in recent years that have transformed the college, with nearly 20 Bachelor Degree tracks among them.

Large glass Student Union building with students and Dr. James Richey, EFSC President“Those programs represent the most rapid expansion of academic degrees in the college’s history, with still more on the way,” he said.

The college has also significantly increased the number of courses and degrees available completely online, providing more flexibility for students who are often juggling work and families.

“We have done all that and more while not raising tuition for seven straight years, reflecting our firm commitment to keeping a college education within financial reach,” said Richey.

Funding for the Student Union came from the Florida Legislature with former Speaker of the House Steve Crisafulli of Merritt Island playing a central role in its approval.

"Just to have a comfortable space to go to when you come out of class and have some time or some work to do, it definitely helps take the edge off," said Melbourne Campus student Tyrale Chavez.

EFSC Student Union Food Court
Those attending the Union dedication toured the building, including the new Food Court.

During the dedication, Richey also thanked the college’s Board of Trustees for “their unwavering support and selfless commitment to higher education at Eastern Florida. Without them, none of this would be possible.”

The trustees are Alan Landman, chair; Ronald Howse, vice chair; and R. Bruce Deardoff; Dr. Edgar Figueroa and Moses Harvin Sr.

The Student Union is the third major new building on the Melbourne campus as part of its ongoing expansion.

In 2017, a new Health Sciences Institute opened with 10 highly specialized labs on par with the best such facilities in the country.

In 2015, a new Public Safety Institute opened that houses a Police Academy, EMT training and a number of criminal justice programs.

The college also plans to break ground later this year on its first Student Housing units.

Other EFSC campuses are also benefitting from new facilities:

  • A new Mechatronics Lab, a field that combines engineering, electronics and computing for product design and manufacturing, is planned for Cocoa in 2020.
  • The Palm Bay Campus is home to a new Fire Training Center that trains new firefighters and veterans for all 13 Brevard cities and Brevard County Fire Rescue.
  • Palm Bay will also house a new state-of-the-art Robotics Lab in 2020, giving students first-class access to career possibilities in that field.
  • Off campus, a new Aviation Center at Melbourne International Airport is training a pipeline of skilled technicians for the airport’s growing aviation sector, and for companies at Kennedy Space Center that are launching the next generation of human spaceflight.

For more information on EFSC and its programs, visit easternflorida.edu

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