Honors College and International Center open for some classes

Workers continue construction on The Honors College and International Center, Thursday, August 20, 2015. The building will feature a third floor balcony, covered patio behind the building and benches adorned with inspirational quotes. Matt Lunsford / HERALD.

Andrew Henderson

Although the new Honors College and International Center will be operational come Sept. 25, others saw it for their own eyes on Monday, Aug. 24.

Chief Facilities Officer Bryan Russell said a limited number of classes will be held on the second floor of the building. Students will have access to the front entrance, bathrooms and elevators on the first floor.

“All the other areas will be restricted. Those [areas] are going to be very limited for students for the first four weeks,” Russell said. 

Russell said the $22 million facility was under construction for a little over 12 months, and they are currently in the process of putting furniture in and fixing places that “need to be patched.” He lamented how this past winter made it difficult for the project to move forward and how it was a contributing factor to the project’s four week delay. 

Some features of the building include: 11 classrooms, 12 small study nooks, 86 offices, a 200 seat multipurpose room, an outdoor event lawn and a student community kitchen, Russell said in an email. The building will house 10 departments such as the Honors College, Study Abroad Global Learning, Chinese Flagship, Office of Scholar Development and Navitas to name a few. 

“Everyday we’ve seen a lot of progress,” Russell said. 

Russell also said the building offers new features for accessibility and compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The restrooms in the building will not have doorways but entryways, so there are no obstructions. 

“These buildings, and the newer buildings, we’re doing this type of design where you don’t have to worry about a door,” he said. 

He said the building will also offer single occupancy, all-gender restrooms. He explained how it will be a restroom available for anyone’s use and has a lockable door for privacy. 

One of the new features of the building is the addition of an international café, Passport Bistro. 

Gary Meszaros, the assistant vice president of Building and Auxiliary Services, said the new restaurant will be on the first floor of the building and offer gyros, salads, paninis and grilled sandwiches. Breakfast, lunch and dessert options are also available. 

He said the café will accept meal plans and offer value meals. While Passport Bistro will open Sept. 25, the hours of operation are still being decided. 

“We’ll start with some minimum hours, maybe four to seven, and if it gets more popular we’ll extend it,” Meszaros said. 

Honors College Executive Director Craig Cobane expressed his excitement for the building’s many new features. He said he was excited about the study rooms, which offer a space for intensive study. 

“There’s really no other place on campus that has these small, individual study rooms,” Cobane said. 

Cobane also highlighted the covered patio, architecturally known as an arcade, in the back west wing of the building. He said the patio includes couches, tables and chairs for students’ enjoyment. 

The building’s formal name is the Honors College and International Center. Cobane said while the shorthand is to call it the honors building, it is actually the university’s building. 

“Now everyone on campus will know where to go to internationalize their educational experience,” he said.