- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - After a year’s delay, North Carolina A&T; State University has started demolishing its student center to make way for a new $90 million facility scheduled to open in three years.

Demolition of the Memorial Student Union began Tuesday, the News & Record of Greensboro (http://bit.ly/1Ft6k5d) reports.

During a short ceremony, Chancellor Harold Martin and others reminisced about the old student union. Martin called Tuesday “a sad moment, but … a joyous occasion as well” because the university is tearing down a building that served the campus for nearly 50 years, but joyous because A&T; has high hopes for the new building.

The original section of the building opened in 1967 when A&T; had about 4,000 students.

A&T; closed the student union a year ago in anticipation that construction would start last fall.

The new student center will be more than twice as big as the current building and have amenities including a bookstore, food court and a new ballroom that will seat as many as 700 people. The new facility won’t open until 2018, a year later than anticipated.

The university also has raised student fees to $250 per student this year to cover construction costs. Next year the extra fee will be $400.

After the ceremony, students and employees wrote messages on the pillars outside the entrance.

“My first memory of A&T; was the union,” 2015 graduate Allen Nolley wrote, “and it will surely be missed.”

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Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com

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