RSC construction brings temporary relocation, unified offices

Staff Reporter

Michael Ybarra has been cutting hair in the Rhatigan Student Center lower level at Wichita State for 30 years.

Now the owner of Lords & Ladys is operating from the second floor of the RSC due to the two years or longer renovation project.

“It’s going to be different,” Ybarra said.

WSU faculty, staff and interested members of the community were invited to the RSC Open House Aug. 2 for a self-guided tour. The tour was interrupted by a natural gas leak about an hour after it started.

Shelly Martins, RSC director of marketing, said the event’s intent was to familiarize everyone attending with where the stores and other facilities have moved.

“The fence can be so visually intimidating, we want people to come in and have a positive experience,” she said.

The more faculty and staff that know where the facilities are the more than can help the students, Martins said.

Commerce Bank employees put green footprints on the floor directing clients to the bank’s new location, which is now on the second floor having moved from the first floor.

“We want to make it easy for customers to come to us,” bank branch manager Molley Taylor said.

She said the bank will be in the current location for about one year before moving to a location on the north side of the RSC before the final location on the first floor.

“We do the best we can,” Taylor said. 

Fewer customers come to the bank during the summer. Consequently, she said it is uncertain how the new location will affect business.

Meg Junk is the program advisor for Student Activities Council.

She said since the Students for Center Leadership and the Student Activities Council offices combined, it has become a more cohesive group.

“The space itself will be interesting and loud,” Junk said about the third-floor Ballroom space.

Gina Stewart is the coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life. That office is also in the Ballroom.

“It’s nice having us together,” she said. “We’re able to provide a lot more resources and services to students.”

Stewart expects the volume to increase with the start of school. 

“It’s not bad, but school hasn’t started either,” she said. “As of now, it’s great.”

Marty Heffner came to the open house from the Media Resource Center. He is the chief engineer.

He said he benefited from the event.

“I know where to go to eat my sandwiches at the wRECk Center. That’s important,” he said.

The wRECk Center is now on the second floor, complete with food service, billiards, darts and other games. It was formerly located in the RSC basement, across from the bowling alley.

wRECk Center Director Rich Renollet said he expects business to boom the first weeks of school because the food court on the first floor is not scheduled to reopen until after Labor Day, which might overload the center with customers.

“That’s the target date,” he said. The center is “one of the primary places for food and beverage.”

Even though it required a small investment to make the move, Renollet said the project is worth the effort.

“It’s one we didn’t hesitate in taking,” he said. “Way worth it. Our students at WSU deserve the best.” 

The Office of Multicultural Affairs will move from Grace Wilkie Hall to the RSC second floor.

Natalie Toney is the OMA program coordinator. 

“Right now, it’s probably frustrating for those who have to move around,” she said. 

Toney said OMA needs more space, a better lounge area and room for other activities.

“We have so many kids laying on bean bags or sharing the sofa,” she said. 

OMA Administrative Specialist Gina Gouchenour said “It will be nice to be close to the other student involvement offices.”

Veteran bowling Coach Gordon Vadakin said the RSC is 53-years-old and it is time to upgrade.

“It’s going to be dynamic,” he said. “There’s going to be so many cool things.”

Vadakin said more windows will provide more natural light; there will be more lounge space; improved services; more student offices working together and the Alumni Association will have an office in the RSC, too.

The temporary bowling office will be on the RSC’s second floor.

Kevin Konda is the director of the bookstore, which has not moved. He said the RSC has had some problems with people knowing the building is open for business, but some people do know.

“We’re doing pretty well right now,” he said.

Ybarra said he does not think the reconstruction will impact his business, but is not 100 percent sure.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” he said.

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