Wichita State Student Center Getting Face Lift

By: Abby Barnett Email
By: Abby Barnett Email

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February 2, 2010

After 50 years, the central meeting place for Wichita State students may soon be getting a new look.

The project is called, "Rhatigan Renewal." Those at Wichita State have been working on plans to update the student center since 2006. Now the plans are complete, and those in charge are ready to get the ball rolling.

"What we're going to do is renovate 80% of the building, and add about 35 thousand square feet," said Wade Robinson, Vice President of Campus Life.

Currently, the Rhatigan Center is dark and made almost completely of brick. After the project is complete it will take on a new look, filled with windows and high ceilings.

Outside, the plans call for an outdoor amphitheater. Inside, they will add meeting rooms and an updated ballroom. Popular spots, like the bowling alley and food court, will be expanded, remodeled, and updated.

"It's student driven... It's what they're asking for," said Robinson.

This makeover is not cheap, said Robinson. It comes with a $33 million price tag.

"It will be fully funded by student fees, and because of that we need the student support," Robinson said.

To cover the cost of the project, student fees will increase five to six dollars a credit hour.

Students said they are not looking forward to the higher cost. At the same time, they say having a functional student center is important, and in the end, they feel the extra money spent will be worth it.

"We're a commuter campus, and everything is spread out," said Hannah Douty. "This is really outdated... I can imagine it will be a lot better when it's done," she said.

At the end of February, this will be presented to the student fee hearings. Then, in the spring, it will be presented again to the Board of Regents.

If everything goes as planned, construction will begin in the spring of 2011. The project should be completed by the summer of 2013.

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