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Reflecting on LSC’s history as renovations conclude

Collegian | CSU Archives

The Lory Student Center is a go-to location for students all over Colorado State University.

Whether you’re looking to pick up some food in between classes, study for exams, find valuable resource centers or even just grab a beer at the Ramskeller Pub & Grub — the LSC has it all.


The LSC was not the first student center on campus; it was initially located in Johnson Hall in response to a fast-growing student body population to accommodate student needs.

Associate teaching professor Adam Thomas, whose concentration is architectural history, reflected on the history of the LSC and what the initial vision was after first constructing buildings outside of The Oval.

“From the very basic level that when they decided to reorient campus, they decide there’s going to be three buildings at the center of this campus,” Thomas said. “The (Andrew G.) Clark Building because they need to bring in social sciences and the liberal arts to become a major university; the library, which makes sense — from the library flows all knowledge — and the then third one is the Lory Student Center. … So they are purposely choosing to put students right in the center of the campus.”

“It’s a place where people can come together and discuss dialogue and meet needs of what it takes to form a strong sense of community here at CSU.” -Mike Ellis, LSC associate vice president and executive director

When reflecting on former university President William E. Morgan’s vision for the CSU campus, Thomas described the overall goal for how to orient the buildings, and he discussed the concept of students being “the body.”

“He frequently referred to students as living cells,” Thomas said. “He always referred to students as the body. … The library is the brain; the Clark building is the soul, but the heart of it is the Lory Student Center.”

Although the LSC initially maintained some of its services to meet the needs of students, some areas of the LSC have been lost to time.

Linda Meyer, an archivist for the Agricultural and Natural Resources Archive, remembered some of the LSC’s areas that are no longer present: for example, an ice rink located just outside the LSC.

“Another thing that I missed that the student center used to have was the bowling alley, which used to be downstairs,” Meyer said. “I also remember when my kids were young, bringing them to the bowling alley, and it was a very family-friendly bowling alley as well as being put in much use by the students.”


However, due to unforeseen natural events, the bowling alley and the basement of the LSC as a whole were washed away.

“(The 1997 flood) washed out the bowling pins, the books and everything,” Meyer said. “There was, like, a river flowing through the downstairs part of the student center.”

Mike Ellis, associate vice president and executive director of the LSC, detailed the lengths they went in order to provide a new, renovated area for every student to come to have their needs met.

“We renovated the entire student center,” Ellis said. “The primary goal of that renovation was to relocate the Student Diversity Programs and Services office in the heart and soul of the student center and the center of campus.”

This was done to establish a strong sense of community and emphasize what CSU stands for.

“It’s a place where people can come together and discuss dialogue and meet needs of what it takes to form a strong sense of community here at CSU,” Ellis said.

A 20-year master plan was crafted back in 2004 with the purpose of installing a transit center in collaboration with the City of Fort Collins, a complete redesign of both stories of the bookstore and another expansion to the Adult Learner and Veteran Services, just to name a few major renovations. Ellis said they are excited to have completed the 20-year master plan a year early.

With the numerous renovations that were set in motion, Ellis takes great pride in how the LSC benefits students and meets their needs.

“We have an incredible student center that serves our campus community, … and we want to continue to be better, do better for what our campus community needs,” Ellis said. “That’s a part of what this project has done was listening to student needs, then creating an environment that responds to those community needs.”

Reach Christian Arndt at or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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About the Contributor
Christian Arndt, Life & Culture Director
Christian Arndt is this year's director for the life and culture desk at The Collegian. Arndt joined The Collegian in the winter of 2023, when he started as an arts and entertainment writer, primarily focusing on movie reviews, local art installations and music-curated lists. Arndt is the second life and culture director and is proud to step into this position. He is focusing on providing the best local coverage in the Fort Collins area with a focus on unique business profiles, important cultural events and fun local happenings. Arndt comes from Silverthorne, Colorado, and came to Colorado State University in the fall of 2021. He is a third-year and is majoring in journalism and media communication with a minor in English. He found his passion for writing during his English classes in high school, and eventually with the style he chose to pursue, he ended up finding a passion within journalism. Because he had no prior experience with journalism, he was adamant to join The Collegian and build up his experience and reputation there. Aside from writing for the paper, you can find him at the cinema, watching basketball, playing video games with friends, walking his adorable dog Penny Lane, snowboarding and listening to plenty of music. Arndt finds his role as a director thrilling and looks forward to providing the utmost care and consistency with the content that comes out for the life and culture desk.

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