On February 15, President Nam Pyo Suh approved the initial plans for the construction of a new student center. Given the temporary name Jang Young Shin Student Center (after the President of Aekyung Group, a Korean conglomerate, who donated to the school last year), plans estimate that construction will begin this September and end in the second half of 2013, before the beginning of the fall semester.
Earlier this month, the Undergraduate Student Council had raised concerns as to whether the building would be completed at all, as issues with funding the project were revealed to the student representatives. However, these problems were resolved mid-February, and the KAIST Construction Office expects committee meetings to deliberate over the final build site by the end of next week.
If all goes according to plan, the Jang Young Shin Student Center will occupy what is currently the lawn between the TaeWulGwan Student Center and the Lyu Kuen-Chul Sports Complex. The proposed center will offer students up to 3,300 square meters of floor space - half the size of a football pitch. Some of the features the students will have access to are: ten new student club rooms, a bar and floor area for student-organized events, soundproofed rooms for musicians currently without any space to practice privately, and small multi-purpose rooms where impromptu lectures or meetings can be held.
The KAIST Counseling Center (KCC) is expected to move to the top floor of the new student center, and will be designed with an open and accepting interior design theme in mind to stave off the social stigma many students have with visiting KCC.
One of the key elements of the student center is the fact that the school intends to leave the daily operation of the building, excluding the counseling center, to the students. An office will be installed on the first floor for the student organization that will be in charge of maintaining the building.
To resolve the current lack of dormitories, KAIST’s Construction Office also has plans to build a new dormitory on campus.