HUDDERSFIELD University's new Student Union building has received a thumbs-up from students.
The union, located behind the Harold Wilson building on the Queensgate campus, was opened yesterday.
Students crowded outside to watch as Student Union president Tom Johnson and university vice-chancellor Prof John Tarrant cut a ribbon at the opening ceremony.
Mr Tarrant said: "Student Unions are a vital part of all universities and I'm very pleased that the university was able to find the money and the Student Union put in so much effort to get this great new facility."
Within minutes of the doors being opened, students had packed into the building - which replaces the union's old home at Milton Hall on Queen Street South.
At Milton Hall, built in 1883, drinking, dining and dancing all took place on one smoky, dingy floor.
However, the new Students' Union is bright, light and airy with two separate floors.
The ground floor has a student advice centre with private interview rooms, a shop with an off licence and coffee machine and a bar area - The Venue.
The Venue has a standing capacity of 550 and boasts two bars, one standard height and the other at a lower height for wheelchair users.
Seating ranges from tables to comfy sofas and entertainment includes big screen TVs, arcade machines and pool tables.
There is also a stage for gigs, complete with a lighting and sound system.
Upstairs there is The Lounge - a smoke and alcohol free relaxation area.
This offers a coffee and food bar, which will open from tomorrow.
This area also has a cash machine and an annexe called The Zone, with computers and facilities where the university's clubs and societies can meet and advertise themselves.
Tom Johnson said The Lounge would attract students who had stayed away from the smoky bar environment of Milton Hall for cultural or personal reasons.
He said: "It means mature students with families can use the area.
"We also have a diverse multicultural mix at the university and the smoke and alcohol free area will allow students of faiths such as Islam to use the union building.
"Milton Hall was a bit limiting. This is fantastic."
Students Liz Hill and Gemma Whitehead have visited both Milton Hall and the new building.
Liz said: "I liked the old building's character but it is nice to have a separate non-smoking area. Milton Hall was smoky and dark. This is nice and modern in design."
Gemma added: "Here it's far less dingy."
WHEN Huddersfield University was a polytechnic during the 1960s, '70s and '80s, the Student Union was a small office in the centre of the Queensgate campus.
Gigs were held in the Great Hall, a 1960s building which was demolished in January, 2004.
The hall hosted gigs by some of Britain's best bands including punk band The Damned (pictured) in 1977, Mud in 1978, 1980s legends Ultravox and The Jam.
By 1991, the polytechnic had become a university and Milton Hall, a Grade II listed building attached to the rear of Milton Church on Queen Street South, became the Student Union building.
In 2003, the university decided to house drama courses in Milton Hall and church.
Work to build the new union building started last February.