Pittsburg State University had a record fund-raising year in 2011. Overall fundraising brought in about $17.83 million, including about $400,000 in donations from current and retired faculty — the largest amount in university history. That translated into a big year of capital improvements in 2012. From new buildings to improved athletic facilities, the university is moving forward with $60 million worth of additions to campus.
Perhaps the most visible improvement to the university’s campus is the new University House, which was dedicated in August just before the fall semester began. The $1.75 million house is a multi-purpose facility with the ability to host university events and accommodate visiting dignitaries.
The house was paid for entirely by donations and replaces the university’s original president’s house, which was built as a single-family residence in 1954 for then president Rees Hughes at a price of $65,000. It has 6,500 sq. ft. of usable space, with the majority designated for university functions. Total square footage for the residence side of the building will be slightly more than 3,000 sq. ft., which is actually 1,000 sq. ft. smaller than the original president’s home.
Pittsburg State University’s Brandenburg Field got a brand-new MondoTurf field in July. The original turf was 10 years old and had begun to fade. The process of replacing the turf cost about $500,000 and was funded entirely by private gifts. Fans also purchased the original Gus logo from midfield and the PITT from PITTSTATE in the north endzone.
Additionally, electrical conduit was placed around the field to create modern access for high definition TVs, speakers, and fans and heaters for the players and others.
John Lance Arena
John Lance Arena in the Weede Physical Education Building got a complete makeover during the summer. The court was entirely replaced with about 31,500 square feet of maple flooring, and the arena received brand-new bleachers and seats.
The court has a red and yellow logo of Gus the Gorilla at midcourt, and the east and west ends of the arena have practice courts. The floor can also be portioned off to create as many as seven volleyball courts, which are divided by new nets that are hanging from the rafters. The original wooden bleachers remain at the east end for commencement ceremonies.
The project was made possible by a $1.2 million donation from PSU alums Alan and Roberta Whetzel.
Center for the Arts
More than 30 years after Pittsburg State University demolished Carney Hall, the university is just weeks away from breaking ground on a new performing arts center.
There were always plans in place for a new center, but the project didn’t get off the ground until an anonymous donor committed $10 million to the project five years ago. More funding was secured after students voted in a referendum to contribute $7 million in student fees over the next 20 years. Additionally, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, donated $5 million in honor of alumnus and former Walmart President CEO H. Lee Scott and his wife, Linda.
Page 2 of 2 - The remaining $8 million was funded entirely through private donations. Construction should begin in late January or early February and should take about two years to complete.
Overman Student Center
The Overman Student Center will get a $14 million renovation and addition to the east side of the building, which students voted to pay for through additional fees. Plans are currently being drawn up, and could be in place sometime in January. The expansion is coming, it’s just a question of when.
Weede event center
The university also is looking building a $17 million indoor event center east of the Weede Physical Education Building. The facility, which could be built in under a year, could hold an indoor track for hosting sporting events on a national and conference scale. Beyond sporting events, the possibility for hosting regional conferences and national organizations would exist in a way it does not now. University officials are currently seeking help from the City of Pittsburg to pick up about $7 million of the construction tab.