Georgian College students at Orillia campus are finding comfort in their home away from home with several newly renovated spaces.

An upgraded cafeteria, pub, study space, prayer/meditation room and student association office were unveiled on Jan. 24 at a gathering of students and staff during the kickoff to the winter semester.

The upgrades were funded by the Georgian College Students’ Association (GCSA) thanks to a historic $7.2-million gift, announced in 2015, to upgrade student services at each of the college’s seven campuses. The donation is the largest ever given to Georgian’s Power of Education fundraising campaign.

“We’re really proud of these changes and students are already making great use of the spaces,” said Scott Mason, GCSA Orillia president. “The GCSA executive identified areas that were most important to us as students and we worked with the college to enhance services for students to enjoy now and into the future.”

The biggest part of the renovation was converting the former dental lab into a new student association office. For the first time, the GCSA executive and three student-life staff are able to work out of the same space. The former GCSA office space was converted into a prayer and meditation room. Outside the GCSA office, a barrier-free washroom was installed to enhance accessibility.

The cafeteria has new furniture and fresh paint, along with new digital screens and an enhanced audio system. The mezzanine was closed in with a glass partition to create a separate and quieter workspace. The campus pub, The Den, has a brand new 10-foot projection screen and audio system.

The GCSA also designated a portion of its gift to help fund the Advanced Technology, Innovation and Research Centre at the Barrie Campus, which is being touted as a game changer for the regional economy when it opens in the fall 2018.

In the photo, Georgian College Students’ Association executive members officially open their new office. From the left, are Dean Stephanie Dimech, Scott Mason, Phil Scibor, Emily Marchand, Ben Stern, Jeff Czetwerzuk, past GCSA president Dana Basdeo and Georgian president and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes.