November 30, 2012 12:00AM
The decades-old dream of a new arts center on the Pittsburg State University campus took a giant leap forward on Nov. 30 with the announcement by university officials that the contract for the construction of the facility has been awarded to Crossland Construction Co.
“This is a historic day in the life of the university,” said PSU President Steve Scott. “The awarding of the contract for construction moves this project from paper and dreams to actual concrete and steel.”
Excitement and appreciation are the two emotions President Scott said most reflect how those who have been working on the center's plans and fundraising feel today.
"We're excited about what will happen within the new performance spaces when they are completed, and we're so appreciative of the many donors and students who have made this day possible."
The contract calls for construction of the facility, just south of the Weede Physical Education Building at the corner of Homer and Ford Streets, to cost $30.3 million. Architectural fees and other costs bring the total cost for the project to $33.6 million.
Paul Stewart, director of facilities planning, said it was a very competitive bidding process for a complex project that included many alternates.
“In terms of dollars, this is comparable to the construction of the Kansas Technology Center,” Stewart said. “Being part of a project like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the donors, the planners and the builders. This will be an exceptional facility.”
Kathleen Flannery, executive director of university development, said that although the funding required for the construction to begin is in-hand or pledged, there is still work to be done.
“We’ve rounded the last turn of the race and now is the time for that final burst of energy,” said Flannery. “There remains a need for private support to help us furnish and equip this facility at a level that provides the very best experience for our students and community.”
Pittsburg State University has been without a large, on-campus performance venue since Carney Hall was closed in 1978. Plans to build a new performance hall began even before Carney Hall was razed, but took on life five years ago when an anonymous donor committed $10 million to the project.
Many others have donated for the project in the meantime and in March, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, gave $5 million in honor of alumnus and former Walmart President and CEO H. Lee Scott and his wife, Linda. Earlier this year, PSU students voted to commit $7 million in student fees over the next 20 years to the project.
University officials said more information about a ground breaking and the beginning of construction will be announced as soon as it is available.