Welcome mat rolls out for new 'front door'

1:00:28 PM CDT - Monday, May 09, 2005

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

WSU's new "front door" is opening later this month.

The newly built Marcus Welcome Center, which administrators are calling the new "front door" to the university, will be dedicated during a 1:30 p.m. ceremony Monday, May 23. An open house with tours will follow from 2-4 p.m.

The center is to be the new entry point for prospective students and their parents, returning alumni and visitors. Admissions, scholarship and information offices will be consolidated into the easily accessible location, off Mike Oatman Drive near the campus' northeastern section.

Marcus Welcome Center
Photo by Inside WSU
Besides a high-arching entry into the Marcus Welcome Center, the 34,500-square-foot building's amenities include a 100-seat auditorium and multipurpose rooms for larger groups.
Starting May 9, the offices involved in the move will start packing up to be in the building by the time the welcome mat is rolled out May 23.

"We're very excited about this. It'll be hectic, but we plan to keep the doors open," said director of admissions Gina Crabtree, noting that admissions will host a recruiting event, Sophmore Day, May 11, while conducting the move.

Crabtree said the 27 people from the admissions area and the two folks from the scholarship section of financial aid will more than likely move in shifts so that business can continue to be conducted during the transition.

University administrators have yet to officially announce the next occupants of the Jardine Hall offices that will be vacated.

Private donations, with a lead $1.3 million gift coming from Howard and Rose Marcus, have funded more than half the building's nearly $6 million cost, according to Patsy Selby, associate vice president for the WSU Foundation. Campus facilities money from mill-levy funds the university receives from the city and county will fund the remainder of the cost.

 Nearly 150 donors provided gifts for the building, and their reasons for giving varied.

The Marcuses were continuing a family tradition of giving to the university. Howard's parents, Sam, who had founded what eventually became Excel Corp., and Milly, had provided the lead gift for the Marcus Center for Continuing Education, which was razed for the new welcome center.

Howard and Rose Marcus also gave money for the Milly Marcus Memorial Garden. Milly Marcus became known as the tulip lady when she began taking bulb orders direct from Holland to benefit Temple Emanu-El.

Another set of donors, Ruth Fahrbach and her children, David and Patricia, donated money in memory of their husband and father, Carl, who was the dean of admissions when he died in the 1970 plane crash that killed 32 Shocker football players, coaches, alumni and supporters. The dean of enrollment services office will be named after him.

Marcus Weclome Center
Photo by Inside WSU
Work crews are putting the finishing touches on WSU's new "front door" the Marcus Welcome Center that will be the new entry point for prospective students and their parents, returning alumni and visitors when it opens later this month.
Marketing faculty members Dean and Esther Headley gave because as marketers they believe the university needs to market itself, and the center provides one way to do that.

Among the 34,500-square-foot building's amenities will be a 100-seat auditorium and three multipurpose rooms that can be configured for a group of 200. Interactive displays will tell WSU's story.

The basement will serve as a parking garage for Braeburn Golf Course golf carts. The carts are currently stored in a shed near Eck Stadium.

Plans call for that building to be torn down following baseball season and replaced with parking spaces, said John Gist, director of facilities planning. The parking lot near Woodman Alumni Center and the Marcus Welcome Center will also be rebuilt starting this summer, Gist said.

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