JOHNSTOWN - Fulton-Montgomery Community College students now have a comfortable gathering place, which includes an Internet cafe, a lounge, TVs, and pool and foosball tables.
The college Board of Trustees on Thursday toured the new Raiders Cove, which officially will open next week.
The space, which formerly was the site of a swimming pool, also includes a circular stage and an HD projection system.
The Leader-Herald/Levi Pascher
FMCC?President Dustin Swanger talks to Trustees about what the furnished Raiders Cove will look like during a tour on Thursday night. The half-circle stage is pictured.
"Raiders Cove is going to be very well received by the students in the spring," President Dustin Swanger said. "It brings a new dynamic to the campus from an evening-activities perspective as well as a recruiting perspective. All of these things we have done on campus over the last six or seven years have been to transform the campus and make it a more attractive and functional place."
The $1.7 million project also included construction of a small instructional gym that primarily will be used for aerobic activities, and an addition to the public safety area.
The high ceilings painted in a dark color give the space an open feel with lighting that can be adjusted for ambiance.
No alcohol will be served at Raiders Cove, Swanger said.
"It is sort of a Recovery Room without the alcohol," Swanger said with a laugh.
He said the college wanted to provide students, especially those living on campus, a place to gather socially in the evening.
Many of the students living on campus have no transportation to go to
Johnstown or Gloversville regularly, so having an after-hours social venue will give the rural campus a way to entertain students when the regular campus venues are closed, Swanger said.
Swanger announced the idea of Raiders Cove in March 2010. In October 2011, the college received a gift of $50,000 from NBT Bank to help pay for the project. Additional funds were provided by the Fulmont College Association and the FM Foundation.
The pool that Raiders Cove and the gymnasium cover has been closed since 2008.
The pool is still below the new structure and is used for storage, Swanger said.
Raiders Cove also features a sub shop known as Mondo's, which is a part of the food service business Chartwells.
The trustees were provided with samples of soups, subs and chips that will be available to students and faculty when the cove opens next week.
Many of the trustees complimented the food Thursday. Homemade chips will be provided at the sub shop.
"These chips are absolutely amazing," Trustee Lee Hollenbeck said while sampling some of the food.
Over the past couple of years, the college has opened a cafe near the Evans Library known as Books and Bytes and improved the cafeteria with new stations.
Other gathering spaces open during class time include an area outside the college theater, a lounge in the classroom area and a lounge in the basement of the college union building.
"Those will primarily be our day venues and [Raiders Cove] will serve as the evening venue for our students," Swanger said.
Trustees said they are happy with the project.
"This is going to give the students a sense of upscale class," Trustee Edmund C. Jasewicz said while touring the space. "Dusty has a great vision for this college."
"I think this is great; the kids have to be really excited for this place to open," Hollenbeck said.
Swanger said many of the students have seen pictures of what the cove would look like but none have been inside the facility yet.
"They are very excited to actually use the facility for the first time," Swanger said. "I suspect we will see some community meetings held here soon as well."
The new Raiders Cove will host its first community event during the Business After Hours held by the Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m.
The cove will be furnished and completed by the ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for Thursday at 3 p.m.
Students will be able to use the new facility for the first time next Friday at 4 p.m.
The regular hours of operation will be 4 to 11 p.m. during the week. The cove will stay open until 1 a.m. on the weekends.