Sep 042007
Authors: Heidi Reitmeier

The Charles A. Lory Student Center (LSC) is a building that has flourished over the last 45 years. The structure is rich with history and continues to preserve a mission based on serving the students, staff and visitors that pass through its doors every day.

Bill Weddel, the former director of the LSC from 1967-1983, believes that a building is as a building does.

“What I mean by that is a building by itself, no matter how beautiful it is or how many wonderful facilities there are, is nothing if it’s not really serving the students, faculty and visitors that come in here,” Weddel said.

The original student union was housed in Johnson Hall until it was moved to the new student center building in January 1962.

The LSC took five years to design and two years to build with a budget of $3 million. The land that the Center was built on was a 3.5-acre bean field. Even though it opened in January 1962, the building wasn’t completed until March 1962, with an official dedication on March 31, 1962.

The center was originally 164,000 square feet, and included the CSU Bookstore, although not located in the same place as today, Student Center Theatre, Student Center Game Room that included a 12-lane bowling alley, pool, snooker tables, billiards tables, table tennis and pin ball machines. There was also a skating rink that could accommodate 200 skaters at one time and in the off-season it was used for dancing, shuffleboard, badminton and related activities.

James M. Hunter, the architect of the LSC, incorporated many art pieces in the original design, including the tile mosaic located by the main staircase. Jack Bice, the Boulder artist who designed the mosaic, was confined to a wheelchair when constructing the art piece.

Another famous art piece is the ram’s heads located outside of the Sunken Lounge. They were sculpted by Amy Harmoda, also a Boulder artist.

Since the opening, there have been several renovations to accommodate the changing campus that surround the historical building.

The first of these was in 1968 when the CSU Bookstore was moved to the north side of the building. Then, in the late 1980’s, the food court was expanded on the west side to allow for more seating and the sculpture garden was also added. The last of the renovations was that of the Transit Center and the renovation of the CSU Bookstore.

Cliff Ingraham, former Building Manager of the LSC, was there to witness the opening and has his own philosophy of why the building is so successful.

“Hire good people, teach them well and let them do their work,” Ingraham said. “This resulted in, I think, the finest operation in the country.”

Today, the LSC still ignites a sense of pride in the current director, Mike Ellis.

“Our mission hasn’t changed, it has just evolved,” Ellis said. “We provide a strong sense of campus community where students, faculty and visitors have a place to feel connected to each other.”

As it is currently, the LSC covers 295,000 square feet and runs on a yearly budget of $22 million. Twelve thousand students pass through the center everyday and 350 of those students are employed within its walls.

Staff writer Heidi Reitmeier can be reached at

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