Woolsey Hall renderingDesign for Woolsey Hall is under way

Design for Woolsey Hall, the new building to house the W. Frank Barton School of Business, is under way. Researchers from the selected architectural team, GastingerWalker out of Kansas City + Gensler Chicago, were on campus in October to become more familiar with the current Barton School of Business facilities, observe how students, faculty and staff move through campus, and learn about the types of spaces that most resonate with our community.

A poster session was set up to get feedback from faculty, staff, and students about the types of spaces and activities they hope to see in the new building.

The architectural team was selected following interviews of a short list of firms provided by the State Building Advisory Commission. The selection committee consisted of staff from Wichita State University and the WSU Foundation, as well as the Office of Facilities and Property Management and the Kansas Board of Regents.

Background: Business building will be built with reallocation of funds, donations

As promised, Wichita State University announced in April 2019 a plan to move forward through budget reallocations and cuts to finance Woolsey Hall, a new business building, and begin to meet other academic facilities’ needs identified in the March 2019 student infrastructure referendum.

University officials respect to the results of the referendum, which students defeated by 107 votes of nearly 3,500 votes cast. As a consequence of that vote, where student fees will not be raised for these purposes, we’ve chosen a path that seeks the same outcome: positioning WSU in a positive way to meet the academic infrastructure needs of future generations of students.

To make these reallocations starting in FY 2020, we’re planning to use general use sources of funding in positions and other budgeted items. When possible we will cover these items by available restricted use funds, and in other cases they will be cut from the general use budget.

The combined reallocations and cuts will generate resources to make an annual bond payment of approximately $1.5 million, needed to raise $20 million dollars, the university’s share of the building cost. Private gifts to the WSU Foundation will cover the remaining $30 million dollars.

The numbers are still being finalized, but here’s roughly what we expect to reallocate:

  • $300,000 from the Barton School of Business
  • $675,000 from areas within the Division of Academic Affairs
  • $200,000 from the Office of Research & Technology Transfer
  • $275,000 from other divisions
  • $100,000 from Athletics

We are also working on plans to move forward, though more slowly, on referendum priorities to upgrade other spaces in academic buildings. One of the least expensive and most needed of those is the Ablah Library enhanced 24-hour study space and restrooms. Construction began in fall 2019.

In summer 2020, we’d like to start working on other projects, such as renovating biology labs and psychology and play therapy clinics. The money is expected to come from centralizing shrinkage accounts, which is where vacant position salary dollars accumulate, and from state funds for rehabilitation and repair, when appropriate.

We know these reallocations and cuts will be hard, as they will be permanent, since the bond payment will run at least 25 years. Many departments and individuals will feel these cuts, but this is the direction we need to take, based on the outcome of the referendum and the university’s need to continue to evolve and grow.

Questions or comments? Email provost@wichita.edu.

The information on this page is accurate as of Nov. 4, 2019.  Comment on this topic.