The wheels are turning on yet another major construction effort on
The Washburn Board of Regents on Thursday approved the hiring of HTK/KWK
of Topeka. The firm will prepare architectural drawings for a new
350-bed student housing and dining facility to be built on the east side
of campus. That is about 50 beds smaller than the Living Learning Center.
The exact configuration of the student housing is unknown, Washburn
administrators said, but the suite-style student rooms will share common
living space as they do in Kuehne and West Halls.
"That's the concept," said Denise Ottinger, vice president for student
life. But the exact configuration "depends on what's feasible
Construction of the new building, which includes both housing and
dining, is expected to cost approximately $30 million.
Rick Anderson, Washburn's vice president for administration and
treasurer, said work with the architecture firm will begin in the coming
days and the construction will be bid in December. Construction is
expected to be underway in March 2015, with the first students moving in
in August 2016.
Anderson said the new dining facility will address the "bottleneck at
lunch" experienced by students, faculty, staff and visitors at the
Memorial Union. Ottinger expects the new facility to add programming
opportunities as well, including late-night dining options.
"We hope it will be a destination spot after the game if you want to get
a pizza or a burger," she said.
Washburn's residence halls have had a waiting list for the past four
years. Anderson said this construction will address an obvious need and
eliminate a reason some prospective students may choose another
"We don't know how many students we lose because we don't have housing,"
Anderson said. "But that does happen."
The momentum created by this and other building projects on campus is
likely to have a positive impact on Washburn.
"It's like 2000 all over again," Ottinger said. "We had orange
construction stuff all over campus...We saw the impact of what happened