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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

OPINION: McKnight is a disaster of a building

Makenzie Miller

Wichita State has various buildings, ranging heavily in their architectural style and condition, and one of the egregious examples is McKnight Art Center. As a fine arts student, I have dealt firsthand with a lot of issues surrounding it.

For starters, the water will often stop working, rendering bathrooms and sinks useless. Using the bathroom or drinking from a water fountain should not be a privilege, and one should not have to walk 10 minutes to do so. 

While yes, this is a problem in general, it’s an even bigger problem in an art building. Students often need sinks to rinse off supplies or themselves or might need water to finish a project. 

In this year’s fall semester, one of my professors explained that if we needed to use the sink for any reason, we would have to go to another building nearby. Due to the fact we were all painting, this became an issue very quickly. We would all have to randomly leave the classroom and walk across to a different building to get anything done. 

The idea of not having water in a building that requires water for day-to-day assignments is so ridiculous to me that it’s almost laughable. At least I would be laughing if I weren’t crying. 

Aside from the plumbing issues, the building is insanely confusing. There are two different sections of McKnight, one of which can only be accessed through a skywalk tucked in the corner on the second floor. In one part of the building the only way to get from floor to floor is through a janky elevator. 

If there was a fire or the elevator was not working, there is no efficient way to get off of the third floor. That is the farthest thing from safety, and the fact that this has not been addressed despite many, many students complaining is outrageous. 

And that’s not all — it’s annoying and possibly dangerous for able-bodied students to get from floor to floor, but if you are in a wheelchair for any reason, some places are basically inaccessible. 

Some places can only be accessed by stairs, and the only way a person in a wheelchair could get to these parts of the building is by going outside and around the building to a completely different door. 

Also, there is only one gender-neutral bathroom in the entire building, on the third floor. That is an absolutely ridiculous walk for anyone who needs this restroom, and the fact it’s placed on the highest point in the building just adds to the accessibility issues.

As stated earlier, the elevator (yes, one single elevator) in McKnight is extremely small and scary. Every time I have stepped foot in that elevator, it sounds as if it’s two seconds from giving up. In fact, for some time there was a sign in the elevator teaching you how to ride, suggesting that you “hold on.” 

It can barely fit five people, but it’s not like you would even want to fit five people in that death box. Art students often carry big portfolio bags or boxes of art supplies, so it can be hard to maneuver even three people in there if they have art supplies. 

As an elevator for an art building, it should be able to fit a couple of people comfortably with art supplies without feeling like your will needs to be written up every time you step in. 

Then there’s the more petty and subjective fact that the building is just ugly from the inside. Professors help with the atmosphere by putting up students’ artwork throughout the building, which is always amazing to look at. 

Despite my annoyance surrounding the skywalks, they are very pretty, but the building itself looks like an actual prison. Cement walls with few windows in classrooms and cement floors, the whole thing is an eyesore. 

What frustrates me the most is that Wichita State has been working on adding completely new buildings, like Woolsey Hall and Shocker Success Center. Instead of renovating old buildings, the easy way is taken, and buildings are abandoned for new ones. 

Don’t get me wrong; I am so happy for the students that get these new buildings. This should not be a fight of who deserves them more, but the fact that no changes have been made to decrepit, older buildings is actually ridiculous. 

Students deserve good buildings to learn in, and McKnight is one of those that needs renovation as quickly as possible. The fact that this building commonly gets complaints, yet no one seems to do anything about it is so frustrating. I hope that changes soon before the building collapses in on itself.

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About the Contributor
Makenzie Miller
Makenzie Miller, Illustrator/Designer
Makenzie Miller is an animation major and a first-year illustrator on The Sunflower. She is from Eureka, Kansas, and enjoys not only art but also cartoons, video games, softball, and literally any type of animal. She hopes to one day be a storyboarder/concept artist for an animation company.

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