Heskett Center will likely not see climbing wall again


The Heskett Center on Aug. 5, 2013. (file photo)

The Heskett Center once housed a climbing wall in the second floor gymnasium. The wall was installed in 1993, but was later removed in 2017 due to it being outdated. It also needed major repairs.

The Heskett Center was one of the first few places in the city to have a climbing wall, which made it popular for students and around Wichita at the time.

“We were one of the few places that actually had climbing–this was of course before the modern looking walls that are now in YMCA’s,” John Lee, Director of operations for the Heskett Center said.

Through the years, the climbing wall became less popular with students. Over time they gained access to more sophisticated facilities around Wichita. In addition, the WSU track team held practice in the same area, and the lack of air conditioning in the summer caused students to steer away from the activity.

“It was just getting old. It was very useful and a good thing to have at the time. It either needed to be taken down and replaced, or just taken down,” Lee said. “We didn’t have the funds nor do we still have the funds to replace it currently.”

Lee said that he does not see the wall making a return in the future.

“Rock climbing is a niche thing that only certain individuals participate consistently,” he said.

Cost of installation, liability insurance and programming are factors that would come into consideration if the wall were to be installed.

“For the amount of people that we think would it, it is not something feasible. The wall can cost up to $100,000 to install,” Lee said.