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Work starting on 'new front door'

8:31:02 AM CDT - Thursday, February 12, 2004

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

MarcusCenterdestruction.gif (30,451 bytes)

Photo by Johnie Cook

The walls of the former Marcus Center for
Continuing Education came tumbling down
Jan. 20. Cornejo and Sons started
demolishing the building off 21st Street in
the northeast part of the campus to make
way for the new Marcus Welcome Center.
The center, which will be completed next
year, will house admissions and be a
visitor information center.

 With two backhoes crashing bricks and breaking glass, WSU started work last month on what officials are calling the university's "new front door."

Crews from Cornejo and Sons started demolishing the former Marcus Center for Continuing Education Jan. 20 to make way for the new Marcus Welcome Center. President Beggs and donors who are helping fund the new Marcus Center welcomed the crews.

The new center will house the admissions office and serve as an information center for visitors and a meeting place for alumni and the community.

"It will really be the new front door to the university, welcoming prospective students to the campus, welcoming parents and welcoming friends," said Ron Kopita, vice president for student affairs, when the center was announced.

The building contract will be awarded and construction on the 29,320-square-foot facility is expected to start in March, according to John Gist, director of facilities planning.

WSU had purchased the old Marcus Center, originally built in 1924 as the Crestview Country Club, in 1969. From 1974 until 2000, it had served as a continuing education center. It had also housed the University Club.

Recently, the center provided temporary office space for athletics while renovations were done on the Henry Levitt Athletic Complex.

Continuing education classes are now held at the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex.
 
The new Marcus Welcome Center will be completed sometime in 2005, depending on the contract, Gist says.
The center will include a 100-seat auditorium and will have displays to tell the university's story through graphics and memorabilia contributed by alumni. Golf carts, used at the adjacent Braeburn Golf Course, will be stored in the lower level.

The building project is being funded by private donations and mill levy money WSU receives from Wichita and Sedgwick County. Donors have given about $3.6 million so far, with the lead $1.35 million gift having been provided by Howard and Rose Marcus. Howard's parents, Sam and Milly Marcus, had funded the Marcus Center for Continuing Education.

The entire building project is expected to cost more than $4.75 million, according to WSU officials.



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