PITTSBURG — A building at Pittsburg State University, which doesn’t even have an official name will soon have a complete overhaul.
The building, originally constructed in the 1950s as a laboratory school, has housed the Gladys A. Kelce College of Business for over 30 years.
One PSU alumni, Vicki Demnett went to classes in the building from junior high through college.
“I’m sentimentally attached to the the building,” she said. “But it’s out of date, so I’m excited they are adapting to the way they teach now.”
Kelce College of Business Dean Paul Grimes described the changes as tearing off the front part of the building and “scooping” everything out to create a learning environment which is more conducive to the business teaching style.
“The building is just not conducive to the way modern education is taught,” Grimes said.
The college has plans on changing the old auditorium into lecture halls, which will have two rows of tables on each tier so students can still do collaborative work.
Grimes said a curved case room will give the students the experience of working on different sides, as it splits the students into two teams and leaves the center space for the instructor to moderate conversation.
Other rooms — which are flat rooms — will have movable furniture for more collaborative work in any form needed called “collaborations stations.”
The college would like to keep all of the faculty offices from each department of the college together and create advisement spaces and a meeting room, the dean said.
Grimes said an atrium will be created for a place to gather — it can be utilized as study space, or for group work and events.
Before, events would be limited to picnics on the front lawn of the building or be taken somewhere else on campus.
Even the front door which students never use will change, the dean said. Grimes said he would like to see a clear entrance which welcomes students “home.”
Grimes said the modern changes to the building may encourage students from more modern high schools to come to the college of business.
Despite making modern changes, Grimes said they will still pay homage to the original building and the university's appearance.
The City of Pittsburg may also benefit from the renovation, according to Grimes and Assistant City Manager Jay Byers.
“The building will be so visual, especially when coming from the north end of the street,” Byers said. “It shows there is something special here.”
Byers said such a visual change may spark improvements in areas surrounding the university. There are currently plans to make the crosswalk safer and taking the opportunity to fix some underground water issues.
So far, the campaign for the overhaul has raised a little over half of the cost, which is $18.5 million. The college hopes to get the renovations started by the year 2020, Grimes said.
People who wish to donate can have an opportunity to name rooms of the school, Grimes said, and anyone interested in making donations may contact the College of Business.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.