The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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February 25, 2014

PSU breaks ground on $13 million event center

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The late Robert Plaster’s name is already familiar to college students throughout the Ozarks. The new event center at Pittsburg State University will be named for him, too.

Officials from the university, the city and the Kansas Board of Regents, and private donors were on hand when ground was broken Tuesday for the $13 million event center.

“Today’s groundbreaking is about much more than a facility,” said PSU President Steve Scott. “It’s a celebration of the incredible partnerships this university shares with its community, its students, its alumni and its donors.”

The Robert W. Plaster Center is being paid for by a combination of $5 million from the city of Pittsburg’s revolving loan fund, student fees and private donations. The donations included a “substantial seven-figure” contribution from the Robert W. Plaster Foundation, according to university officials.

Plaster’s daughter, Dolly Clement, is the Plaster Foundation’s executive director, and she spoke on behalf of the family during the ceremony.

“I am very excited about this project,” Clement said. “I know that Dad would be, too. I certainly wish he could be here with us today.”

Clement said her father wanted to help as many students as possible, which is why he chose to fund capital grants.

“He understood that when helping colleges and universities with their capital needs, he could not only help provide wonderful facilities for higher education, like the one we’re celebrating today, but he could also potentially help those colleges keep tuition low for their students,” Clement said.

When completed in the spring of 2015, the event center will encompass more than 154,000 square feet. It will include a 100-yard turf field, an 11,000-square-foot strength and training area, a 300-meter track, and seating for up to 1,500 people. It will have locker rooms for men’s and women’s track and football, along with offices and meeting rooms.

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