Tennessee Tech officially opened its Roaden University Center (RUC) expansion Thursday.
Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Dewayne Wright said the expansion was needed for the growing student population.
“When the RUC opened up in 1971, Tech’s enrollment was a little more than 6,000 students. Now the university enrolls more than 10,000 students,” Wright said. “We needed to provide students with more space where they could meet, work, or relax in between classes.”
Construction first began on expanding the RUC’s western wing in 2017 and cost approximately $7 million to complete. The new 11,000 square-foot addition includes student lounge and dining areas on both the first and second floors of the building.
Wright said the expansion project was needed after the university examined the current student experience on campus.
“I think it’s very important. We’ve been trying to find ways to help support the students outside of the classroom,” Wright said, “and one of the things that we had found is they don’t have a place to go in between classes.”
Wright said the new lounge and dining areas will provide a benefit to commuter students who previously had no place do go in between classes.
“With a lot of students being commuter students, once they come into campus they don’t have a place to go if they have a two-hour break in between classes,” Wright said. “The university prioritized making space that they can go to.”
Approximately 1,000 students, staff, and faculty members attended Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the expansion’s completion.