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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Guest column: President welcomes new and old students to evolving campus

Mia Hennen
President Rick Muma speaks to the crowd of mourners and Wichita State community members present for the Memorial ’70 ceremony. The ceremony of rememberance honored WSU football players, administrators and supporters who died in a plane crash on Oct. 2, 1970.

Welcome home, Shockers! 

The beginning of the fall semester is always so full of energy, hope and inspiration; and I’m thrilled to see all your faces back on campus for the start of a new school year. 

You might have noticed that there’s quite a bit of construction and commotion happening on campus right now. While the dust and detours might be somewhat inconvenient, it’s all part of transforming our campus to ensure that your Wichita State University experience is the best it can be.

Perhaps the most conspicuous campus construction project is the Shocker Success Center to the east of the Rhatigan Student Center. The former Clinton Hall will be an all-inclusive, holistic student-centric space filled with the resources and offices each of you needs to succeed. 

The Shocker Success Center will house 17 student services that are currently scattered across campus in 10 buildings: the Office of Adult Learning, CARE Team, Career Closet, Military and Veteran Services, Office of Disability Services, OneStop Student Services, Shocker Support Locker, Office of Student Success, Tech Help, Testing Services, TRIO Disability Services, TRIO Student Support Services, Writing Center, Math Lab, Supplemental Instruction, Physics Lab and the Shocker Learning Center.

It’s going to be incredible to watch what was once a dark and somewhat outdated facility become an efficient and convenient building that fosters success among all Shockers. The Shocker Success Center is scheduled to be completed in summer 2024. 

In athletics, you might have been shocked to see that half of the former Cessna Stadium has been flattened. Over the summer, we began demolition of the stands on the east side of what we’re now calling University Stadium. 

The first phase of construction will begin this fall and will include underground utility work, a seating area for 2,390, new free-standing field lights, a ticket pavilion, restroom and storage buildings and a plaza. 

Further phases of the University Stadium’s construction will include a regulation-sized soccer field, updates on the track and field facilities, bleacher seating on the north and south sides, and a pedestrian plaza between Charles Koch Arena and University Stadium. 

The renovations on the 77-year-old stadium are vital in ensuring our athletes train at state-of-the-art facilities so Wichita State can continue to host the KSHSAA Track and Field Championships each spring, and that it can be used for community events, such as concerts. 

You’ll also soon see construction begin at our softball facilities with a four-phase renovation in Wilkins Stadium. 

The project will include an indoor practice facility and batting cages, new locker rooms, classrooms, training rooms and office space. The Shocker softball team is fresh off a successful 44-12 season, where they ranked 23rd in the nation. 

Both Wilkins and University Stadium will be remarkable transformations, and I can’t wait to cheer on our Shocker athletes when the renovations are complete! 

If you’re looking for Parking Services, that office will move from the University Police Department building into the former home of the Campus Credit Union branch, which closed in April. Be sure to keep your eyes open for the updated traffic signage in that area of campus, as Research Place — the road south of Wilkins Stadium — has shifted from one-way to two-way traffic. 

There are some exciting additions to the Innovation Campus, too. We’re about to open the Digital Research and Transformation Hub, which will house our National Institute for Research and Digital Transformation. 

The institute is a 37,000-square-foot facility at the corner of 18th Street and Oliver and will include research pods that can accommodate the technology and space necessary for Wichita State’s research in the emerging field of digital transformation. 

With so much growth and construction happening, Wichita State’s thriving culture of innovation and growth is shining brightly; and it allows us to offer you — our students — the very best opportunities to learn, play, grow and succeed. 

I wish you the very best for this school year, and I encourage you to explore our campus and learn about all the wonderful spaces and places that make Wichita State great. 

Go Shockers!

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About the Contributor
Mia Hennen
Mia Hennen, Editor in Chief
Mia Hennen is the current editor in chief for The Sunflower. Before becoming editor, Hennen was the news/managing editor. They are a junior at Wichita State majoring in English and minoring in communications and Spanish, hoping to pursue any career involving writing or editing.

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