PITTSBURG — Embroidered leather chairs with a split-face gorilla, a hall of fame collection of Pittsburg State University athletes and maple hardwood floors in the John Lance Arena were all highlighted improvements during a rededication ceremony Friday at the Garfield Weede Building.
Since 2012, over $5 million in private and PSU funding has been poured into the Garfield Weede Building, which includes the John Lance Arena. The improvements touched on several aspects of the building, which cost $2.6 million in 1971.
PSU President Steve Scott said the funding is mostly private donors, including a $1.2 million donation from in 2012 from Alan and Roberta Whetzel.
“This isn’t exactly a rededication,” Roberta Whetzel said. “It’s a whole new world.”
The rededication ceremony was held in the Freeman Health Systems Weede Lecture Hall — one of over a dozen renovations noted during the ceremony. Over 60 people attended the ceremony, sitting in the custom leather seats.
Freeman’s contribution established the lecture hall and medicine center. Freeman President and CEO Paula Baker said the health care system was a “large” contributor in the overall total.
“We are wholly dedicated to the Gorillas and the people living in Southeast Kansas,” Baker said at the ceremony.
Donations and PSU funding also led to remodeling of the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms, volleyball locker room, the Whetzel Family Mezzanine and Champions Club, Tredway Family Foundation Football Office Suite and the 31,000 square foot maple hardwood floors in the John Lance Arena.
John Lance’s daughter-in-law, Merry Lance, said the late John Lance “would have been very, very happy.”
Scott said PSU prioritized projects and still didn’t get around to a couple of improvements — an air conditioning unit in the arena and a hall of fame room. Although, the hall of fame hallway was done.
— Michael Stavola is a staff writer at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.