Despite pandemic, multicultural student center still on track to open in November

On Aug. 11, 2020, much of the skeleton of the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center is nearing completion. Associate vice president for student life of diversity and multicultural student affairs Adrian Rodriguez said the project is on track to be done by the Nov. 20 unveiling ceremony deadline. (Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

The Morris Family Multicultural Student Center is on track to open by its November unveiling ceremony, associate vice president for student life of diversity and multicultural student affairs Adrian Rodriguez said.

The shell of the building is mostly finished. The next few months will focus on completing the interior of the building.

“When students left campus in March, much of the ground and foundation work was being done so many have not seen the steel and outer shell go up,” Rodriguez said via email. “So we are incredibly excited to share all of the great progress that has occurred while the students have physically been away from campus.”

In all, the project is expected to cost about $6.2 million, supported by private donors. Jim Bob Morris, Kansas State alumnus and former football player of Cherokee descent, was a major donor for the project.

“We are fortunate that we have not seen much of an increase in costs due to COVID-19,” Rodriguez said.

On the east side of the K-State Student Union, the center sits on the site of a previously proposed expansion to the Union. Construction began on the center in the fall of 2019 with utility work.

The project, which has been in the work for several years, hit a new stride in 2018 when K-State formed the Project Action Team made up of about 30 people from across the university. Later that year, President Richard Myers announced at KSUnite that about 66 percent of the funding needed for the project had already been secured.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 20.

“However, we remain agile given the fluidity and external forces of COVID-19,” Rodriguez said. “Naturally, we will comply with COVID-19 guidelines for university events and limits on mass gatherings, so the planning for those activities will definitely take that into consideration.”

My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the managing editor and audience engagement manager of the Collegian. Previously, I've been the editor-in-chief and the news editor. In the past, I have also contributed to the Royal Purple Yearbook and KKSU-TV. Off-campus, you can find my bylines in the Wichita Eagle, the Shawnee Mission Post and KSNT News. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. I’m a senior in digital journalism with a minor in French and a secondary focus in international and area studies. As a third-generation K-Stater, I bleed purple and my goal is to serve the Wildcat community with accurate coverage.