PITTSBURG, Kan. —
Contractors began work last week on a $17 million event center at Pittsburg State University that city leaders and tourism officials hope will bring visitors, jobs, revenue and students to Pittsburg.
The 154,000-square-foot center, which is being paid for with $5 million from the city of Pittsburg’s revolving loan fund along with student fees and private donations, will be built adjacent to PSU’s Weede Physical Education Building.
It will include a 100-yard turf field, an 11,000-square-foot training center, a 300-meter track and seating for up to 1,500.
It also will include locker rooms for football, and men’s and women’s track, some offices and meeting rooms. University officials anticipate completion in the spring of 2015.
B.J. Harris, director of the Crawford County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said such a center would draw large-scale events to the area. It was key in the NCAA’s choice of PSU to be the host for the 2016 and 2018 Division II men’s and women’s indoor track championships.
PSU President Steve Scott said a groundbreaking ceremony will be held in late February or early March to make it official, but the university “didn’t want to wait a day longer than necessary to get to work on this great addition to the campus and the community.”
Mayor Michael Gray said the entire community has been eager for construction to begin.
“It’s been fascinating to watch the construction of the Center for the Arts this past year,” he said. “But the community has an even greater reason to be interested in the indoor events center because we have invested in it.”
The city’s contribution will be made in stages. It is composed of $1.5 million upfront from the revolving loan fund, which is earmarked for economic development, and $175,000 per year for 20 years as part of a lease agreement for shared use.
PROJECTIONS BY MUNICIPAL CONSULTING LLC suggested that the event center, along with the Center for the Arts and a planned expansion at Overman Student Center, could in 10 years lead to the creation of 444 jobs with a total indirect economic impact of $329 million. The firm projected $5.2 million in direct revenue to the city of Pittsburg and $3 million in direct revenue to Crawford County.