Dickinson State University now has an additional spot for students to congregate outside - the Centennial Plaza - built in honor of the university's 100 year anniversary.

"This will be a fun place for students and others to gather and study ... It's a really fun addition to our space," said Stephen Easton, president of DSU.

The plaza has been in the works since mid-2019 when a Centennial Plaza work group was created of faculty and staff to brainstorm ideas for the project.

"Essentially, the idea was to kind of create a space for community members and for our campus community to have a space to congregate on campus that was different than our academic buildings or our student center, somewhere outdoors for them to enjoy," said Michelle Wilson, committee member of the Centennial Plaza work group.

The plaza, which is situated between May Hall and the Stoxen Library, includes a propane fire pit, concrete tables, metal bike rack, pergola for shade, lounge seating, perennial plants, lighting, outlets and electrical access for changing electronic devices, WiFi, the university's centennial seal inlayed into concrete and a dedication plaque recognizing SDC.

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Total funds available for the project included $50,000 from Stark Development Corporation and $25,000 in-kind from the university.

"The idea of the plaza evolved out of a conversation with President Mitzel regarding our facade improvement program and if it could be used to create a more inviting gathering space at the entrance to May Hall. That conversation developed with my board and they wanted to help create a space to honor the DSU graduates and specifically the entrepreneurs that have walked out the doors of May Hall and contributed to building our community," said Ryan Jilek, executive vice-president of Stark Development Corporation.

In addition to Stark Development, the project was also made possible by Winn Construction and Berger Electric.

"It's going to be a nice place. I think now with everything going on, it really gives outdoor spaces an important part again, so it's just timely that it happened. I'm glad that everybody put in the work to make this beautiful space," said Jilek.