GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - ECU students returning to campus were welcomed with the official opening of the new $122 million student center.
ECU hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Main Campus Student Center at 1 p.m.
The center is a 220,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility that will serve as the new front door to ECU's campus. It includes a new 720-space parking deck and a new chiller plant.
"When I first applied here I knew this was going on and I knew this was going to be awesome to have," ECU Freshman Lily Redick said.
The student center will also have six restaurants, but they are not expected to open until later this month after all construction, inspections, and training is complete.
ECU leaders expect the center will help them attract more prospective students to the campus.
"Well, our tours will start here when new students come here to visit ECU," said chancellor Cecil Staton. "So, I can't help but think that this is a gamechanger. I think it may be that thing that really seals the deal when students come to visit our campus."
The much anticipated new student center of a local university is one step closer to opening.
East Carolina University's new Dowdy Student Store opened for its first day of business on Friday. The rest of the $122.2 Million new Main Campus Student Center won't open until Monday.
"That's the first day of classes," said ECU Dowdy Student Stores Director Bryan Tuten, "but students need their books before the first day of classes so we were allowed to open up today."
The new store is about 2,000 sq. ft. bigger than the previous one. The ground level includes ECU merchandise, everything from hats, to key chains, to jewelry, all purple and gold of course. The textbooks can be found on the basement level.
The student center will have six restaurants but they are not expected to open until later this month, but some students say they don't mind being patient.
"I've been working here three years and all we've been talking about is the big move," said Carley Vanhoy, an ECU senior and student store employee, "I hate that I didn't have more time to be able to spend here and take advantage of it."
The new student center parking deck is also open and customers shopping at the bookstore will have free parking through Monday.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the rest of the Main Campus Student Center will be at 1 p.m. on Monday.