The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 30, 2012

PSU secures funds, chooses contractor for $30 million center

By Andra Bryan Stefanoni

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State University officials announced Friday that with funds secured for a $30.3 million performing and fine arts center, they have awarded the contract for construction to Crossland Construction Co., a Columbus-based company.

“This is a historic day in the life of the university,” said PSU President Steve Scott in a news release. “The awarding of the contract for construction moves this project from paper and dreams to actual concrete and steel.”

The contract calls for the building to be constructed just south of he Weede Physical Education Building at the corner of Homer and Ford streets. Architectural fees and other costs bring the total cost for the project to $33.6 million.

Paul Stewart, director of facilities planning, said bids were competitive for a complex project that included many alternates.

“In terms of dollars, this is comparable to the construction of the Kansas Technology Center,” Stewart said. “Being part of a project like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the donors, the planners and the builders. This will be an exceptional facility.”

According to architect’s blueprints of the center shared with staff earlier this year, the first floor will include a 250-seat theater, a 1,100-seat performance hall, an art gallery, dressing and green rooms, a mechanical area and delivery dock, a meeting room/rehearsal hall and a donor display.

The center also will include an orchestra pit, an art gallery and work space for visiting artists, rehearsal space for the university band and storage for instruments, stagecraft work rooms and storage rooms, all with the flexibility to convert the spaces according to need.

Pittsburg State University has been without a large, on-campus performance venue since Carney Hall was closed in 1978. Plans to build a new performance hall began even before that building was razed, but gained momentum five years ago when an anonymous donor committed $10 million to the project.

In March, a $5 million gift in honor H. Lee Scott, the former chief executive officer and president of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and Steve Scott’s brother, was made through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation with support from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.

In the spring, PSU students voted to commit $7 million in student fees over the next 20 years to the project. In August, officials announced they were within $1 million of meeting their goal.

Kathleen Flannery, executive director of university development, said that although the funding required for the construction to begin is in-hand or pledged, there is still work to be done in order to furnish and equip the center at the level such a building demands.

More details

University officials said more information about a groundbreaking and the beginning of construction will be announced as soon as it is available.