Friday, Oct. 3, 2008 | 8:14 p.m.
At Thursday's grand opening celebration of Nevada State College's Liberal Arts and Sciences building, President Fred Maryanski summed up the emotion of dedicating the new building by quoting the classic Scorpions rock ballad: "Take me to the magic of the moment, on a glory night, where the children of tomorrow dream away, in the wind of change."
"You all should be proud," he said. "The students feel first-class when they're in this building."
A host of dignitaries spoke at the opening, including Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Jim Rogers, who recalled the college's beginnings. He remembered calling Greenspun Corp. President and Home News Publisher Brian Greenspun and former Station Casinos President Lorenzo Fertitta, asking them for $2 million each to help start Nevada State.
"I said 'we need you to put in $2 million,'" Roger said. "They said, 'What for?' I said, 'You don't need to know.'"
Rogers called Nevada State a great love and noted the college initially faced detractors.
"We've defended it against those who say it's duplicative and not needed," he said. "This is going to be a great college."
Before and after the speeches by dignitaries, students and faculty gave tours of the 42,000-square-foot building.
The new facility, open since August, has translated into more active clubs and student groups as well as an increased accessibility in reaching students, student body President Ryan Crowell said.
"It's a huge thing for student life," he said. "It turns into less of a commuter college."
Crowell recalled sitting in the student government office in the old Dawson building, studying for finals, drenched in sweat because of poor air conditioning.
"I lost 20 pounds in two weeks," Crowell said.
Given those conditions, he said, there was not much incentive for students to congregate.
Sociology instructor Ed Yesser was also eager to show off his new digs.
"Welcome to the best-smelling pod," he said.
Yesser said he went from sharing workspace with six other people to having his own office, complete with new furnishings.
"We get to have students in here," he said. "This is a whole new world."
Biology professor Kebret Kebede stood in his lab adorned with human models. His classes now have access to state-of-the-art equipment to help students find blood glucose levels and use in activities like organ dissection.
"In the old building, we didn't have as much space and efficient control of student activity," he said. "It's a new beginning for the community. I hope to see the campus filled with other buildings and thousands of students."
Dave Clark can be reached at 990-2677 or [email protected].