WWU $11.7 million expansion to include new visitor center

Contributed photo: The president's home at the northwest entrance to William Woods University in Fulton will be renovated into an alumni and visitor center if a $500,000 fundraising effort is successful.

Contributed photo: The president's home at the northwest entrance to William Woods University in Fulton will be renovated into an alumni and visitor center if a $500,000 fundraising effort is successful.

William Woods University in Fulton plans to convert the current presidential home on the campus to an alumni and visitor center after President Jahnae H. Barnett retires.

The $500,000 renovation project of the presidential home is one part of a $11.7 million three-part fundraising effort called the Imagine Campaign. Other projects in the fundraising campaign are a $8.2 million Sorority Circle with an Amphitheater and a $3 million Center for Ethics and Global Studies.

The university has reached 55 percent of its $11.7 million fundraising goal for the Imagine Campaign.

Barnett said the alumni and visitor center would provide additional guest housing, a university archival space, meeting rooms, a welcome center and other amenities not now available.

The new alumni and visitor center would be located at the new Woods Way entrance on the northwest side of the campus.

“It provides a beautiful, dramatic and welcoming portal to the university,” Barnett said.

Although some facilities now exist to assist visitors, Barnett said “demand has increased sufficiently for the university to develop something more.”

Barnett said the aim is to build facilities to lodge visitors and alumni and create a gathering space for the entire William Woods community.

The new center would be a place for the university to showcase university artifacts and memorabilia. It would include proper display cases with heating, cooling, humidity and light control.

Barnett said the center would create office space and a business center for staff and guests.

The renovation would convert the family room of the current presidential home into a lounge and media room with television and surround sound for guests.

The dining room would be converted into a board room. That room and other meeting rooms would be equipped with high-tech equipment for group presentations.

Barnett said the garage would be converted to two conference rooms.

The lower level reception area would be subdivided into one to three meeting rooms with moveable walls.

Five guest rooms would be created upstairs.

Barnett said during the last decade WWU has experienced a 71.5 percent increase in on-campus enrollment in Fulton.

The expansion in buildings and programs in Fulton is needed to keep up with increased enrollment, Barnett said.

In addition to the new alumni and visitor center, the university has launched a fundraising campaign for a new residential complex to alleviate a housing shortage. The new four-building complex would be named Sorority Circle to house all four existing WWU sororities — Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega and Delta Gamma.

Sorority Circle also would include an amphitheater for use by students and the community. With a capacity of 250 people, the amphitheater could be used for theatrical, musical and ceremonial events and perhaps for festivals.

The university also wants to create a $3 million Center for Ethics and Global Studies. Instead of constructing classrooms, the center would be more of an academic project. It would promote ethics and diversity.

All undergraduate students would be required to meet ethical reasoning and global diversity requirements. Current global courses that involve short-term and long-term study abroad would be expanded.

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