Student Veteran Hub sees significant renovation

The VMAS’s center held its grand reopening on Jan. 23 after more than a month of renovations to give students their own dedicated space



Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton cutting the ribbon on Jan. 23, 2023 at the unveiling of the Veterans & Military Affiliated Student Center.

JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor

The Veterans & Military Affiliated Student Center held its grand reopening last week after renovating to expand and add new technology.

Manager of VMAS Penny Martinez said the process from conception to completion took about 16 months. Some of the biggest changes that have been made to the center are the expansion of the student lounge area to outside the office area and the charging and computer stations.

“Now students can hang out like it’s home in between classes,” Martinez said. “We’re going to be adding board games and we’re going to be adding more fun materials on the walls so to speak.”

Martinez said the VMAS was about $110,000 to pay for furniture. The total cost for renovations such as wiring and paint was about $35-40,000.

The project was supported in part by funding from service and activities fees, Facilities Services and a former Board of Regents member, according to an article from WSU Insider

“My original estimate came out to be $325,000,” Martinez said. “We obviously didn’t have the budget for that but we are really happy with how it came out.”

Martinez said there are more items to put up and display in the days to come, with a few examples being a map of the world with all the places students have been and a uniform donated by a former Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) officer for them to use.

Newly renovated Veterans & Military Affiliated Student Center on Jan. 26, 2023

Coletyn Everdell, sophomore digital technology and culture major, is the president of the VMAS center. He found the VMAS center during the fall 2021 semester.

“I first found out about the center because I use military benefits for my education so I had to find the center in person,” Everdell said. “Once I found it I just stuck around.”

Everdell said there have been plans to renovate the VMAS center for a long time now, but since last year there has been action taken to get the funds to remodel the center.

“The biggest change is getting more space. The room that we’re now connected to, that used to be a storage room that we renovated into a lounge,” Everdell said. “The library relocated some of their microfilms and we also kind of took that space.”

Everdell said the center offers free printing and a mini kitchen to students attending, which is a big benefit to them.

Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton giving a few words on Jan. 23, 2023, at the unveiling of the Veterans & Military Affiliated Student Center

Senior management information systems major Ryan Markus Adamson is a liaison at the VMAS center. He has been an attendee at the VMAS since spring 2020.

“A lot of [student veterans] can feel a little disconnected because they’re sometimes a bit older and they don’t always have a dedicated space. That’s what this place does,” Adamson said.

Some of the biggest problems the VMAS has encountered in renovating the space have been working out the monetary issues, as well as taking care of some of the problems with asbestos in the older library, Everdell said.

The first step in creating this space was to clean up and move the items already in the center around, Everdell said. They started moving things out and painting the space around winter break.

Adamson said the main thing he hopes VMAS will be able to do in the future is promote the center more to students.

“I think the biggest thing for us is putting up signage in the Terrell Library to direct people to our space in Holland,” Adamson said.

All of the responses that the renovations have gotten from students have been positive, Martinez said. She said those at the VMAS have felt a sense of gratitude and accomplishment in light of renovating the space.