At KSUnite, President Richard Myers announced the KSU Foundation had secured $4.2 million of the nearly $6 million necessary to build the long-promised Multicultural Student Center.
The center, which is set to be built in the location of a K-State Student Union expansion proposed in 1999, should open by the fall semester of 2020.
“It will be near that site, but it’s important the campus knows this building will have its own identity, use and meaning separate from the student union,” said Ayana Belk, student senator and sophomore in landscape architecture.
In 2015, then-President Kirk Schulz announced Kansas State’s plan to secure donations totaling $16 million to fulfill the goal of constructing a specific center for multicultural students. Currently, K-State remains the only university in the Big 12 that does not have such a facility.
Students and faculty on the committee have been adamant that the center will not be an addition to the union, saying a separate entrance will lead into the building, but an image released by the Division of Communications and Marketing depicts an approximately 14,000 square foot addition to the east side of the union. The center would sit across from the Wildcat Chamber, located near the Center for Student Involvement and the current Multicultural Student Organization Office.
Pat Bosco, vice president of student life and dean of students, said the decisions regarding the size and location of the facility were made in cooperation with the 28-member Project Action Team.
These decisions were made with the needs of current and future multicultural students at K-State in mind. The proposed location, Bosco said, was picked unanimously by the team because of its central location on campus.
“The next phase is to sit down with our students,” Bosco said. “We want to make sure that the multicultural student center has a feel different than any other building on campus.”
Ahead of KSUnite, plans solidify for Multicultural Student Center after decade of discussion
In the Oct. 11 student senate meeting, Bosco spoke for close to 20 minutes to the Student Governing Association about the Multicultural Student Center, likening the previous plan for a $16 million center to a dream. He compared the original financial goal to sitting down with his family to plan a vacation and each member wanting to do or go somewhere else.
“Well, no, really, we can’t do that, we don’t have time, the money, all the realities,” Bosco said. “The process was not followed to gain central administration’s ownership and it was better for us to be able to stop and say, ‘Hey, let’s collectively find out what do we really need and how does that meet today’s needs as well as our future needs.’”
The plans for the center will go before the Kansas Board of Regents in November for approval. From there, after the remaining money is secured by the foundation, the 14-month-long construction process will begin.
“The plans for the multicultural student center are not finalized,” Belk said. “The location and the size pretty much are. As always, we are listening and are trying to make sure we get all we can out of this center, but there are limits because of our chosen size and location.”