Courtesy of Wichita State Student Government Association Youtube
Clinton Hall will be undergoing renovation this summer to become the new Shocker Success Center. Clinton, which is the current home of the Barton School of Business, will hold seventeen different university programs after renovation. The university is planning to finish design in the spring semester and start the 16 month long construction in late summer.
Terri Hall, Vice President of Student Affairs, and architects Steve Clark and Jane Huesemann joined last week’s SGA meeting via Zoom to discuss the current stages of the project and to answer questions from senators.
“We really want students to feel like they have a voice in it, right,” Hall said in an interview with The Sunflower. “If we are calling this the Shocker Success Center, we want shockers to really feel like they had input into what was happening and the design, and give us input … We have all these great ideas, but students are living that life. We want your input to make sure as we open this building in another two years probably, that we have incorporated the things that you think are important.”
Hall said the university wants to generate some excitement for the project so that when construction starts, students will be more prepared to deal with the noise.
“We’ve been talking about building the Shocker Success Center for probably about 3 years now,” Hall said. “In that process, we thought about all of the programs and services that are dispersed all over campus and it seemed like a perfect place to move the services that are scattered all over without any rhyme or reason into a renovated building that was in the center of campus.”
The 16.2 million dollar project is currently in the schematic design phase. They have another seven months of work to complete.
“It’s really important to make this thing really accessible and also very comfortable,” Clark said.
There are 17 student services being brought to the building, including the Care Team, Office of Disability Services, Adult Learning, Tech Help, Tutoring Services, and Shocker Support Locker.
“By locating these 17 services in one building, you might go in there for one thing,” Hall said. “Then in the process think, ‘Huh, you know I’m having trouble with my physics class, I’m going to go to the Shocker learning center and get some help there.’”
Goals include making it a place where students can find help easily and comfortably, creating a student centric space for a sense of connectedness and support, making an open and transparent building, and capitalizing on the central and strategic location.
“Clinton Hall, in addition to Ablah library and Rhatigan, will create this powerhouse of three buildings all providing different services, but similar services, to students right in the heart of campus,” Clark said.
There will be on-grade entries near Ablah library and Rhatigan Student Center. On the south side there will be a ramp down to the first floor, and on the North side, a ramp up to the second floor. The building will consist of four levels, with easy-access elevators and stairs to all floors.
“One of the things that is going to be critical about that space is, you know, Clinton itself is not the most accessible building, right,” Hall said. “The switchback ramps on one side, there’s the 13 or 14 stairs on the other side. So it’s going to have these bright, open walkways that are going to be accessible and on-grades so that students will have an easier access. I imagine those walkways to be like you see in airports, right? There will be chairs there, and really open and inviting so that is something I hope students look forward to.”
Hall said that they are opening up the building so that the offices are open and inviting, instead of a long hallway with doors. An important aspect of the design is open student spaces on all floors that create spaces for students and overflow for waiting for services, as well as small meeting rooms available. The design will hopefully serve to deinstitutionalize the building.
“The restrooms will be ADA accessible,” Huesemann said. “We are adding single-user non-gender bathrooms to three floors of the building and then we are adding one room that is a personal health room … It’s for lactating mothers to nurse a baby or anybody who needs a private room for other medical reasons,” Hueseman said.
Concerns were raised about how construction would affect the campus during the presentation at the SGA meeting, including disrupting nearby classes. Huesemann said that most of the renovation will be inside, with areas on the north and south side being sectioned off. She said the contractors will have to meet requirements for what times they can do loud construction work.
“There might be some inconvenience, but we’ll do our best to have that not be too bothersome,” Hall said.
Hall also said that the benefit is that the renovation won’t impact residence halls like previous constructions.
Marcha Glenn, senator, raised concerns over the incline of the ramps and Clark confirmed that they are ADA accessible. Huesemann said that they would look into easing the incline of the ramp, and that there are frequent landings to break up the distance, and that these ramps would also be wider than others on campus.
“We will be looking at exactly how gradual we can make it. If we can make it any more gradual, we will,” Huesemann said.
Hall said while they could have put anything in this building, they wanted to show that students matter and that they wanted to help locate these services to help students be successful.
“Everybody talks about the growth that’s in other parts of campus, right, but this is growth in the center of campus that is really going to make a difference for the student experience,” Hall said.
Soon after the Clinton Hall renovation, the Rhatigan Student Center will be renovated to add more space for students.