Editor’s note: At last Thursday’s opening faculty meeting, Pittsburg State President Steve Scott announced his three big project priorities for the time being. The Morning Sun sat down with Scott to discuss each of the three big projects.

Editor’s note: At last Thursday’s opening faculty meeting, Pittsburg State President Steve Scott announced his three big project priorities for the time being. The Morning Sun sat down with Scott to discuss each of the three big projects.

Perhaps the first and foremost is a project that Pittsburg State officials have been considering for close to 40 years — a fine and performing arts center.

In a 1972 budget request to the state, school officials asked for $4 million to build a fine and performing arts center.

Although PSU has a $10 million pledge right now, that still leaves roughly $20 million in funds yet to be raised for the roughly $30 million building. At last Thursday’s meeting, Scott unveiled artist’s renderings of the new facility and implored faculty to get passionate about the project and to donate themselves if they could.

“The fundraising itself is just getting underway. Until now, until we had renderings, it was really just a concept for so many years,” Scott said. “Until we got that $10 million pledge, it was just a concept. Those two things really changed everything. The renderings shored up the development of promo materials, so we could sit down with individuals, corporations and foundations and say, ‘Here’s the vision.’ We’ve never been that far along.”

Scott said the need for such a facility has been at Pittsburg State for more than 30 years, and the need has gotten even greater as time has gone on. Scott said the early plans will address many needs on campus for PSU students, as well as the community.

The plans for the performing arts center include an 1,100-seat performance hall and a 250-seat theater, as well as rehearsal space, green rooms, management offices and a scene shop.

“This is primarily for two reasons,” he said. “First, we have an academic need for those facilities, for the theater and music programs. Students do look at facilities. As we improve and create these, we enhance enrollment. It’s pretty well known students do make decisions on facilities. Quality and faculty are in the mix, too. Right now, we have a lot going for us in facilities. We need that in the arts, as well.
“Two, there’s an opportunity that what goes on in that building will affect all students through cultural performances and lectures.”

The performing arts center is one of Scott’s top priorities, but it’s also something in which he will actively participate in finding funding. He said that, unlike some other projects, this will involve multiple sources of funding and hands-on involvement.

With $10 million pledged and $20 million to go, it seems like a long way away. But Scott is confident.

“We’re probably a little more than that ahead. I’m pleased with the response of the faculty and staff,” Scott said. “Some approached us after that meeting and said they want to be a part of this. That’s very encouraging.”

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 140.