Sidelines Guidelines: Hidden gems on MTSU’s campus everyone should know about

Photo by Eric Goodwin / Assistant News Editor

Given the size of MTSU’s sprawling campus, it can be difficult to learn all the places that make up the university. That is especially true for first-time students who have never set foot on campus until move-in day.

Most students will quickly become familiar with essentials like the Walker Library, the Campus Recreation Center and the Student Union. But a few lesser known gems dot MTSU that can be easily overlooked, but are just as useful.

From an elusive, late-night Subway and hidden P.O.D. to a 24 hour computer lab and a one-of-a-kind celestial observatory, here’s a guide to spots every student should know on campus.

BAS University Computer Lab 

The James E. Walker Library is pretty much the spot everyone goes to crank out those long final papers or to find a place that’s better than trying to study with a roommate convinced music is better when it’s louder.

The one downfall to the Walker Library is that it closes at 2 a.m., which might be too early for hardcore procrastinators with an exam the next morning. Luckily, across the quad sits the Business and Aerospace Building, which houses a 24 hour computer lab outfitted with printers offering black-and-white and color printing.

The BAS University Computer Lab has 89 computers available at all times. The lab does have limited hours on the weekends, but it still beats out the Walker Library. The lab at the BAS closes on Fridays and Saturdays at 10 p.m., four hours later than Walker.

Raider Zone

McCallie Dining Hall, located at Corlew Hall, is arguably the most popular dining hall for students who have a meal plan. It boasts a variety of foods for breakfast and lunch, and its central location on campus is a huge bonus.

That doesn’t give anyone any reason to sleep on the Raider Zone, located in the basement of the James Union Building on the West side of campus. While it carries less variety than McCallie, its location next to multiple residence halls is a boon to occupants of Lyon, Monohan or Rutledge Halls.

Cyber Cafe 

The Cyber Cafe pairs well with late night study sessions or quick hunger-driven ventures, especially given its proximity to multiple dorms and and the Walker Library. This P.O.D. and Subway combo is the last resort for hungry students, closing in the early hours of 2 a.m. every day of the week. It opens at 6 p.m., though, so this is a night-time exclusive spot.

Sandwiched in between Judd Hall and Gracy Hall, the Cyber Cafe also has booths to sit at and a patio, making it the perfect place to crash for a bit and chow down on a meatball marinara, or one of those instant milkshakes that taste surprisingly alright.

Uranidrome and Classical Observatory 

Finding the North Star, calculating Earth’s relative distance to the sun and gawking at the sky while developing a neck cramp has never been easier thanks to the Uranidrome, MTSU’s naked eye observatory situated behind the Cope Administration Building beside Old Main Circle.

The Uranidrome is identified by 12 stone columns bearing artistic renditions of celestial bodies in the sun’s solar system surrounding an image of the sun in the center. There is a myriad of calculations to make with the naked eye observatory, but people wanting a closer view of the universe should visit the adjacent observatory.

The classical observatory houses a massive telescope capable of finding and tracking entire galaxies, planets, comets and star clusters. While the general public does not have access to the facilities, visitors may attend monthly Star Parties to have a look at what the telescope sees via two plasma TVs on the outside of the building.

Baldwin Photographic Gallery 

The Baldwin Photographic Gallery, on the second floor of the John Bragg Media and Entertainment Building, hosts a variety of works from prominent photographers and students alike.

The building, named after retired MTSU Professor Harold Baldwin, opened in 1964. Recent exhibitions have included displays from Dana Gluckstein, Shelby Lee Adams and the annual student shows featuring work from students involved with the photo program at MTSU.

Campus Recreation Bike Shop

With a campus as large as MTSU, walking can quickly become tiring. The Campus Recreation Bike Shop, located at the Campus Receation Center, has a fix for that.

Not only does the shop offer bike repair services and bike safety workshops throughout the semester, it also sells bike rental cards for $35 per semester. These cards allow the owner to rent any of the 30 commuter bicycles for five days at a time at any point during the semester along with a helmet and a lock.

For more Sidelines Guidelines, click here.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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