Over the past few years Ramaker Center, formerly known as Ramaker Library, has been revamped into a modern student development center. The construction of Ramaker Center began last spring and was finished this fall for the beginning of the school year., Northwestern has undergone many changes and renovations on campus.
One major renovation that students, staff and faculty members are able to enjoy this year is the recently updated Ramaker Center.
Many of the offices from the Rowenhorst Student Center relocated to Ramaker Center. The departments of student life, global education, integrated general education, Northwestern Honors Program and the Franken Leadership Center all made the transition.
Although it is quite the adjustment for many, Julie Elliott, Dean of Student Life, has appreciated being able to connect on a regular basis with the many departments she oversees.
“I oversaw departments in the RSC, but I also oversaw other departments in the Franken Center,” Elliott said. “While being in the RSC, it was hard for me to feel like I was giving enough time to the Franken Center — being in separate buildings made that difficult. Now that we are in the same building, departments are naturally just collaborating more.”
Student benefits were often taken into account when considering the many decisions involved in designing Ramaker Center.
“We would love to see this be a major hub of student activity; it is a great place to study or work together,” Elliott said. “It would also be nice to relieve some of the busyness from the Learning Commons and have students come here.”
The focus on student’s needs set the tone for the modern building design.
“The architects we hired gave us many different design options, and from those we were able to comment on what we liked,” Elliott said. “We wanted to make sure the look and feel would satisfy the students. Furniture was also an important aspect we were careful on. We wanted students to feel comfortable.”
The open layout of Ramaker Center also provides a great location for events. La Mosaic has already utilized this space for club activities, and plans to continue this in the near future.
“We hosted the kick-off dance and it went really well,” said Nayely Becerra-Balbuena, a core leader of La Mosaic. “We would love to host more events there and also be able to connect with other groups who may be using the building.”
Perhaps one of the most talked about features of Ramaker Center is that it will be open 24-hours for students. Currently, 24-hour areas are located only in dorm lounges.
“We are responding to what students said they wanted,” Elliott said. “I am cautiously optimistic. I am excited for students to have somewhere they can go, and I think it will be a great thing if it is not abused.”
The excitement of a 24-hour area for students also brings up the question of how security will be handled. Pete Boerema, Director of Campus Safety and Environmental Health, has a plan that is ready to be put into action.
“As of right now, the plan is to have security student workers work night shifts from Saturday midnight-5:00 a.m. and from Sunday midnight-5:00 a.m.,” Boerema said. “It is a pretty big commitment to ask of them so I am trying to find eight students who are willing.”
Along with security workers, eight security cameras have been installed in the building, and Ramaker Center will also be locked after midnight, which will require students to use their student ID cards to enter. This is to keep the building secure from anyone who does not attend NW.
Despite a few minor details that need to be completed, Ramaker Center is fully open for students and staff.
“Everything that we wanted to have happen for Ramaker Center is happening,” Elliott said.