Newly renovated Schine Student Center stirs excitement

Renovated Schine receives positive reviews

After 21 months of construction, SU reopens the campus hub with new dining options, brighter decor.
Published: February 8, 2021
Students visit SU's newly renovated Schine Student Center on Monday on the first day of spring semester classes.

Syracuse University’s renovated Schine Student Center reopened to the public on Feb. 8, the same day students began classes for the spring semester.

The student center had been closed off since May 2019 and was slated to reopen in the fall of 2020, but SU announced last August its reopening would not be until the spring 2021 semester.

According to SU, the renovated space will bring more light into the building and will provide students with modern and comfortable furniture options. Additionally, the university said bringing greater accessibility was a priority throughout the renovations. The new center has automatic door openers and fully accessible bathrooms on each floor, among other things.

“Our goal was for our students to have an exceptional redesigned space for them to enjoy and one that truly reflects the needs of current and future students,” Senior Vice President for Business, Finance and Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer Amir Rahnamay-Azar said in a statement to SU News.

Upon walking into the renovated student center, broadcast and digital journalism and political science senior Paisley Skeith said the new and improved lighting was the first thing that caught her eye.

“I’m really impressed with the architecture and the design aspects of it,” Skeith said. “I really like how it’s brighter than before. It was kind of like a cave before, and now there are so many windows. It seems more spacious, too, and could be a good alternative to Bird [Library] for studying.”

According to Skeith, the past three semesters without Schine were difficult, particularly with the pandemic and the restrictions put on in-person gatherings, but she plans to utilize the space in her final months at SU.

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Students sit in the dining center, which offer a mix of both national and local food options, such as Panda Express, CoreLife Eatery, Halal Shack, Biscotti Café and Chocolate Pizza Company.

The wait leading up to Schine’s reopening was also felt by the Student Center’s staff, according to building manager and chemical engineering junior Lilly Basgall. According to Basgall, she is responsible for setting up rooms, handling room reservations for student organizations, and ensuring that students follow SU’s COVID-19 protocols

“I’m so excited about [Schine’s reopening],” Basgall said. “We were in the Women’s Building for a year and a half, so we’ve been waiting for this for so long. I used to work in the old Schine, so it’s crazy to see the changes, and it’s really great to be back.”

While current freshmen never got to experience the “old Schine,” many have been excited to see the reopened student center, selected studies freshman Anna Solomich said.

“Since I’m a freshman I didn’t really get to use Schine last semester since it was closed and everyone said the food was really good and that it would be nice inside, so I wanted to check it out,” Solomich said. “It kind of gives us a normal college experience instead of just being in our dorms all day.”

Freshman drama student Emily Ref added that she hopes the new space will provide her and other students with the opportunity to meet new people and become more social.  According to SU, connection and student involvement were key areas they worked to improve with Schine’s renovations, adding an additional 8,600 square feet of student activity space.

“I think what I’m most excited about is having space on campus,” Ref said. “There are the libraries and stuff, but this is a good way to get out of the dorm and just get into a new environment. I’m excited to meet new people, spend time with my friends, and get some good food.”

Prior to renovating Schine, SU said more than 1,700 students provided input on topics such as versatility and food. According to SU, the new additions to the dining center offer a mix of both national and local food options, such as Panda Express, CoreLife Eatery, Halal Shack, Biscotti Café and Chocolate Pizza Company.

Basgall said she is confident that both the new dining options and improved building features will bring students to Schine. 

“I’m just excited to have people here again,” Basgall said. “The Women’s Building was very quiet. I’m a people person so I’m excited for that and to have this beautiful building and people coming through it again.”

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The renovated campus store inside of the Schine Center offers new Orange-branded apparel, a late-night food and grocery market, a coffee stand and a student-focused event space.
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Students visit the campus store of SU's newly renovated Schine Center.