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Cal U's Elmo Natali Student Center makes 'amazing' student union list

| Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, 12:31 a.m.
Courtesy of Cal Times
When students returned to California University of Pennsylvania this fall the Natali Student Center was undergoing a massive renovation. It has been ranked at the sixth-best student union in the nation.

Even as an expansion is ongoing at the Elmo Natali Student Center, the facility on the campus of California University of Pennsylvania is getting some web-based recognition.

The website “Best College Reviews” issued its list of “The 25 Most Amazing Campus Student Unions.” The Elmo Natali Student Center was ranked sixth.

“We're always proud to have our facilities recognized and to be in such good company,” Cal U spokeswoman Christine Kindl said.

The top 10 comprised:

1. Student Union, Oklahoma State University.

2. Mountainlair, West Virginia University.

3. New Ohio Union, Ohio State University.

4. EMU Student Center, Eastern Michigan University.

5. J. Wayne Reitz Union, University of Florida.

6. Elmo Natali Student Center, Cal U.

7. Michigan Union, University of Michigan.

8. Price Center, University of California San Diego.

9. Tivoli Student Union, University of Colorado Denver.

10. Adele H. Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland.

Kindl said university officials are aware of the rating, but had not had a chance to review the website.

“There's a lot of websites out there,” Kindl said. “We're always cautious before we check them out.”

But she noted the student center's value.

“It's an exemplary facility, and we're happy it would be recognized,” Kindl said.

The Elmo Natali Center is in the initial phase of a two-year renovation slated for completion in 2015. The facility will remain open during the renovation and expansion work, Kindl noted.

Built in 1968, the building was renovated and expanded in 1992.

The Elmo Natali Student Center, named in the honor of a former vice president for student development and services, houses the Cal U Student Bookstore, the Washington Food Court and the Vulcan Movie Theatre.

In February 2011, students who were paying traditional on-campus fees approved renovations to the center.

According to the California Journal, the project is based on results of a 2010 survey, which assessed the needs of students, staff and faculty.

Students asked for a larger food court and convenience store, more public lounge space, a coffeehouse and quiet lounge space, improvements to the Vulcan Theatre, and sustainable/energy efficient features, the Journal reported.

The project will add 37,000 square feet to the facility and improve building access to accommodate new traffic patterns arising from changes on campus.

“We're going to make it a little larger and more functional and student centered,” Kindl told The Valley Independent.

For example, she said, the career services office will be moved there.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or