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West Campus thrives in prime time

3:30:00 PM CDT - Thursday, March 02, 2006

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

 While west-side Wichitans are being encouraged to Wake Up With West Campus in an early morning activity during the March 31 dedication for WSU's new west location, plenty of students are making it a prime weekday nightspot.

Wichita State University West Campus
Photo by David Dinell
"It's a beehive around 7," said West Campus director Celia Goering.

The new 24,000-square-foot center, which opened for classes Jan. 17, is creating quite an enrollment buzz, too.

This spring, students are enrolled in 8,145 credit hours at the West Campus, a 20.5 percent increase compared to last spring's numbers at its former 8,450-square-foot location in a west-side strip mall. WSU had opened that location in 1994. Increasing enrollment led WSU officials to seek a larger facility.

 
Gail Phipps, left, a business student, works with Amanda Conner
Photo by David Dinell

Gail Phipps, left, a business student, works with Amanda Conner, an integrated marketing communication student, on a project for their marketing class at the new West Campus. They are working in the foyer of the center.
WSU's West Campus at 37th Street and Maize really comes to life around 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, when late afternoon classes are dismissing and evening classes are beginning. Cars move in and out of the parking lot, easily finding spots in the large, 750-space lot.

To help students find their new classrooms, a video screen at the main entrance lists class names and room numbers, with an arrow pointing to the left or the right to show students which hallway to take.

Students hang around the lobby, gathering at one of four tables after classes. A couple of students dash into the WSU Bookstore to buy candy before heading to one of the 11 classes meeting on a recent Monday evening.

Donna Green, the lone staffer at the bookstore, which is open 35 hours a week, said candy and snacks are big sellers before classes, but she's also seeing some other folks perusing Shocker clothing and other gear since "Wichita State is hot now," thanks to its rising basketball team. Some take advantage of having clothing delivered to the West Campus bookstore for pickup after seeing merchandise on the bookstore's Web site.

Classes ranging from World Music to Spanish to international business are meeting on this night. More than 150 classes in all meet at the new location, according to Goering.

 
Adam McGonigle
Photo by David Dinell

Adam McGonigle works on one of the computers available for student use at the West Campus. McGonigle is a senior at Wichita North High School and is taking a public speaking class at the center.
Some students, such as seniors Scott Patry and Jimmy Bhakta, find its location a convenient spot, even though all their classes are on the main campus at 21st and Hillside. On a recent evening, the pair was working on a project for their finance class at two computers. Since both live in west Wichita, meeting at the West Campus made sense.

Both undergraduate and graduate classes are offered at the West Campus. Students can complete their general education requirements and earn an associate of arts degree at the west location. The entire master of social work graduate program, along with two certification programs in library media and in professional financial planning, are offered at the West Campus.

Other amenities at the West Campus include a library-book return service, faculty offices, and general education and financial aid advising.



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