MANGO building finally opens first floor following delay

Natalie Alatriste/Staff Writer

After months of postponing, the MANGO building has finally taken down its blue fences. Fortunately for students, it is no longer considered trespassing to enter the premises.

Students swarm the first floor of the building, choosing among the new dining options: some go for Panda Express’s Beijing Beef dish, while others go for their usual latte at the new Starbucks.

Ilene Lopez, a senior majoring in accounting, is finally reaping the benefits of the new building after waiting most of fall semester.

“I’m extremely happy about the opening of this building,” said Lopez as she tasted her Caramel Frappuccino. “Even though it took a while to open, I’m glad I no longer have to walk across campus for a bottle of water.”

The MANGO building was originally set to open before fall semester began. Then the grand opening was scheduled for the end of September, then Oct. 20. But the first floor actually opened Nov. 3.

However, the rest of the building is not open to the University — or the departments that are supposed to move in.

Since the removal of the POD market in the SIPA building, there were no nearby eating or snacking options for this area of MMC. This has been a struggle for students that frequent the area.

“It was executed poorly. I don’t think FIU should have removed the SIPA market without the MANGO being opened,” said Ricardo Mazza, a junior majoring in international business. “They should have left more options for us on this side of campus.”

According to the Celi Ervesun, the FIU project manager for the building, MANGO was difficult to master. She said it’s because MANGO is essentially two buildings in one, connected by a large atrium.

“The building is a very complex one,” said Ervesun. “The atrium is something we’ve never had, so this created a lot of challenges.”

Humidity also played a large role in finishing the building, according to Ervesun. It prevented one of the main components of the atrium from drying on time.

The atrium wasn’t the only obstacle to finishing on time, though.

The doors of the building are sliding doors, not doors that swing open and close like most on campus. Ervesun said it was also a challenge to get all the permits and product approvals for the doors.

The other floors will become available to the College of Business staff and FIU Online staff on Nov. 17.

Since the building is shared between them, they have designated floors for each collegiate entity. FIU Online has two recording studios for professors, and the College of Business has three classrooms.

The rest is divvied up into offices and conference rooms for staff.

The University will begin holding classes inside the building in Spring 2015. The classrooms are strictly used for College of Business courses.

Ervesun says the stairs on the first floor of the building will not be functional until the classrooms are open.

Even though the first floor is currently open, construction lifts will remain until the rest of the building is finished. This may pose an inconvenience for the time being.

Students, however, were more concerned when the dining area wasn’t open.

“There should have been something for students prior to the opening of MANGO,” said Mezza. “But, now that the wait is over, it was totally worth it.”

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