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Pacific opens new UC to students and public

Starbucks, new food service, relocated bookstore part of plan


Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - Pacifics newly renovated dining area is open for all-you-can-eat food service at a flat rate fee.Pacific University students, staff and alumni celebrated a long list of campus facelifts Friday afternoon as they kicked off homecoming weekend on the Forest Grove campus.

The $7.5 million renovation of Washburne Hall, also known as the University Center (UC), took four months to complete under the direction of Opsis Architecture.

“It’s much brighter, and more modern and welcoming,” said Karen Drake of Pacific’s Class of 1966.

The common thread running between all aspects of the project was to make the space more “community-centric,” said Joe Lang, Pacific’s director of media relations. The renovations are “all about a new sense of community.”

The renovation includes a more open UC with a large skylight letting in natural light, a revamped food service area, an extended and covered patio and space for the university’s bookstore and a Starbucks.

The Barnes & Noble university bookstore is now housed on the east end of the UC, where the student life department offices used to sit. The book store is smaller than its former Pacific Avenue location, but didn’t require as much space, given that digital study materials and ebooks have become more popular, Lang said.

A fully-licensed Starbucks opened in the UC last week, offering a full line of drinks and food items. It’s open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - The universitys bookstore is no longer located on Pacific Avenue, but next to Starbucks in the University Center in the middle of campus.

The dining area has been renamed “The Grove,” and is all-you-can-eat style for an up-front flat fee: $5.50 for breakfast, $6.50 for lunch and $7.50 for dinner. Meals can be taken to-go, but patrons cannot reenter.

The UC’s convenience store, renamed the POD (Provisions On Demand), now features a salad bar and a Jamba Juice smoothie machine. The store is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday, and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

“There are so many overwhelming improvements,” said Anne Kask of Sequim, Wash., who returned to campus for her 50-year reunion. “There were only a few buildings when I was here. We didn’t even have a student center.”

Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax remembers the first dedication of the building, which was brand new the day he showed up to Pacific’s campus as a freshman in 1964. “That building has a lot of mileage on it; it’s been part of the commuity for 50 years,” Truax said, citing several community organizations that have made use of it — Rotary, the chamber of commerce and Habitat for Humanity. His only disappointment is the gap left in the former bookstore’s space on Pacific Avenue.

The Starbucks on Pacific University's campus was packed on opening day. “It’s a transformation of an old building into a modern space,” said architect Matt Jacoby. “It pulls things together.”

The renovations are “part of the long-term master plan to enhance the Forest Grove campus” as student enrollment rises, said Lang. “It’s a really exciting time in terms of growth of the university.”

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