Guest Column - October 2011
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Design Corner

Fusion Facilities Confusion Resolution

By Janet Jordan

Function Considerations

Again, it is important to recognize the range of users and their purpose for visiting the student center. Ohio Dominican University's Bishop James A. Griffin Student Center has been open for two academic years. The two food court venues, Panther Grille and Cyber Café, were retail operations the first year. The student center is located across a major roadway from the main campus. In an effort to increase revenue and to attract more students to the center, the university included the Panther Grille and Cyber Café as part of the fees for its meal program. As a result, student traffic increased significantly during lunchtime through mid-afternoon.

The ODU campus administration also promoted use of the new center prior to athletic events. In the past, fans gathered in the center's large atrium to listen to the coach's pre-game pep talk to the players while cheering on their team. This pre-game ritual fostered a new tradition called the "Walk." Players now stroll through the throng of fans on their way to the basketball court or football stadium. This new tradition has created a sense of community between the fans and players.

ODU is focusing on athletics with a goal to move up to NCAA Division II status. School officials believe this will further enhance student life and the college experience.

Operations Considerations

Webster's defines "fusion" as: "A union by or as if by melting: as a merging of diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole."

The success of a fusion student center is far more than the bricks and sticks of the building; it is a collegial spirit of cooperation, the sharing of a vision and mission to encourage student's growth beyond the classroom through a sense of community. This means the professional staff must embrace the diverse purposes the student center serves, be willing to plan ahead, compromise when necessary and actively troubleshoot conflicts among themselves. The participation of student staff in the daily management and operations of the center helps fulfill the mission of promoting teamwork, developing working relationships and gaining life-long skills while enjoying the college experience.


Janet Jordan is an associate with Moody-Nolan Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. She has led the interactive programming component of the firm's design process for more than 10 years, working on community and collegiate sports and recreation projects. For more information, visit