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Student Clubs & Associations, Student Life

After delay, USF Marshall Student Center SkyPad opens for gamers

A crowd of excited gamers gathered on the fourth floor of the Marshall Student Center in anticipation of the SkyPad student lounge unveiling on September 13.

Most of them spent their time playing video games on their laptops.  When the curtains opened, the crowd cheered, but when Joe Synovec, director of the Marshall Student Center, did not begin the ceremony at exactly 1:30 p.m., some of the nearly 50 students began chanting, “Rabble, rabble, rabble,” a line from the Comedy Central show South Park.

Alex “Pudge” Santa Maria, a senior majoring in creative writing, said he skipped class to attend the opening ceremony.  Santa Maria is vice president of the Video Game Club, which will host meetings every Friday night in the SkyPad. He predicts most students won’t use the lounge to study. “Everyone can have high hopes, but I know who goes to this school. They’ll play video games,” he said.

Within minutes of taking over the room, which quickly acquired the odor of sweat and unchanged socks, students synced laptops, organized FIFA tournaments and declared that they might just stay forever.

The recently finished SkyPad gaming area features five gaming pods with large LCD screens, sound cones, one Xbox, and one Playstation 3.  The study lounge, separated from the gaming area by a glass wall, has futuristic tables and seating, including two study pods equipped with two LCD televisions.  There is also a vending area with a coffee machine and a microwave.

Synovec said the lounge cost approximatProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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y $500,000, and was funded by student activities and service fees collected from tuition and appropriated by Student Government.  Most of that money was used to buy and install electronic equipment.

The SkyPad was scheduled to open during the Week of Welcome. Due to Hurricane Irene,
shipping delays with a furniture parts manufacturer in Italy and a port in Savannah, Ga. forced Synovec to delay the grand opening.

The SkyPad occupies an area that once was two meeting rooms and a hallway.  Synovec said he is having trouble finding room for student organizations but there is a high demand for lounge space.


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