Bietz Center schedules grand opening for early October, provides new game features


The Bietz Center for Student Life’s grand opening will be held on October 1, according to Facilities Manager for Student Development Joey Tolbert. Tolbert said the event, scheduled for 3:30 p.m., will be open by invitation to the Southern Adventist University Board and all Southern faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as local media. 

The event will include an official ribbon cutting ceremony, and former Southern President Gordon Bietz will be in attendance, according to Tolbert.

The Bietz Center opened to Southern students last summer during SmartStart and has continued to add new features since its opening. One recent addition is the rock climbing wall, which allows climbers to create their own climbing paths via digital technology. This augmented feature is harness-free and has a 12-inch crash pad at its base.

“We were hoping when creating this element that not just expert climbers will be able to enjoy this, but everyone can,” said Becky Djernes, interior design and real estate coordinator for Financial Administration.

The wall was built inside the Portal, a digital game room located next to the Southern Shoppe, formerly known as the Campus Shop, according to a Weekender announcement sent to the student body.

The Portal includes gaming consoles such as Playstation 5 and Xbox 1. For people interested in older arcade games, there is also a multicade containing over 60 games, including Pac-Man and Donkey Kong Atari, according to Tolbert. The digital game room officially opened on September 9. 

The Bietz Center also has a second game room, which has been opened to students for several weeks. This room provides amenities for more traditional games and includes two pool tables, two ping pong tables, one foosball table and one television.

Since opening the center, managers of the facility have faced some challenges. Tolbert said some students have complained about a shortage of vacant study rooms. To resolve the problem, the center has set two-hour limits for study room reservations. After those two hours are up, students must request an extension every 30 minutes. They can refer to the new website at to reserve a room or find more information regarding the Bietz Center. 

Djernes said the construction team wanted to create an atmosphere where students would want to spend their time, take pictures and create memories.

 According to Tolbert and Djernes, there were many important people included in the development of the Bietz Center, including  Associate Vice President of Financial Administration Marty Hamilton, Corporate Architect for Architectural Services Fred Turner, Director of Plant Maintenance and Construction Bill Cruttenden and former Architect Assistant for Architectural Services Anna Montague. Annette Ronaszegi joined later to replace Montague when she left for the mission field.

From the beginning, one of the goals was to involve the students in the center’s development, according to Djernes. Before the Bietz Center was even set for construction, there were student groups providing input as to what they thought would be a good addition to the project, she said.

According to Djernes, most of the artwork and carpentry at the Bietz Center are homemade, and the majority of the woodwork was created and finished the people she worked with. The lumber utilized for some of the tables in the upstairs meeting rooms was reused wood from the construction site, and the stairs leading up to CK2 were crafted by the design team, Djernes said. 

More information about the Bietz Center can be found on its website,

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