Downtown Auburn Hills aims to draw in students


Downtown Auburn Hills aims to draw in students

Downtown Auburn Hills will be introducing a new student study center in January 2014.

The Downtown Education Nook, or the DEN, will open in the Village Center on Saturday, Jan. 18, according to Thomas Tanghe, assistant city manager of Auburn Hills.

“The DEN is a sort of student and communication center,” said Tanghe. “It is designed for both casual and quiet study.”

The DEN, a 1,564 square foot renovated historical cabin, will be a place for students to study, research and socialize, according to Tanghe. It has two fireplaces and five rooms – one room will be for quiet study, and the rest will be for what Tanghe called “casual study.”

Students can go individually or meet with people – study groups can be up to six people in size.

Tanghe said that there will be no cost to use the DEN, and that free Wi-Fi will be provided. Parking in the surrounding area is also free.

Hours will be 4 p.m. to midnight seven days a week, according to Tanghe, like “an evening drop-in center.”

“It’s very comfortably furnished,” said Tanghe. “A nice alternative place to study.”

Scholar Square

The DEN will be just one part of what the Auburn Hills community website calls Scholar Square.

Scholar Square is about ten minutes from Oakland University’s campus, at the intersection of Auburn and Squirrel Road.

According to the website, Scholar Square is a new student-geared area that will also include a parking structure, Auburn Square Apartments and another new project, the University Center.

The University Center is two buildings away from the DEN and will be opened around the same time, said Tanghe. It will have two classrooms that can be reserved by any of the surrounding institutions.

One classroom will seat 36 students and the other 58 students. Each class will depend on the institution that is holding it.

Tanghe said he thinks students will enjoy not only the DEN but the surrounding coffee shops, bars and businesses as well.

“It just depends on what kind of environment you want to be in,” said Tanghe.

Creating a future

Tanghe is also the executive director of the Auburn Hills Tax Increment Finance Authority, which he said is behind the DEN and other student-geared projects in the area.

“It (the DEN) was our first effort into creating a college town environment in the downtown,” said Tanghe. “We wanted a place where students could gather.”

These projects have been in the planning for the past two or three years, Tanghe said.

Before the making of the DEN, The Auburn Hills Tax Increment Finance Authority held a focus group with students to help brainstorm, design and create the image of the DEN.

“We actually have a lot of stuff going on,” said Tanghe. “We’ve been working with all of the colleges and universities in Auburn Hills.”

Tanghe said this includes Oakland Community College, Baker College and Cooley Law School, among others. He works with Oakland University on a weekly basis.

“We want to draw students in,” said Tanghe.

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