Can you dig it?

Donors and administrators break ground on Center of the Arts

Jay Benedict | editor in chief

If all goes according to plan, the incoming class of 2014 will be the first students in nearly 40 years to use a large performance hall at Pittsburg State.PSU
Construction began weeks ago on Pitt State’s Center for the Arts, but ground was officially broken Friday, Feb. 1. Weather permitting and complication-free, the complex should be completed by Aug. 1, 2014.
Lance Garrett, project manager with Crossland Construction, which is the general contractor for the center, says everything is on schedule and it hopes to have the structure fully enclosed by Thanksgiving 2013.
Garrett has experience with large projects. He most recently headed construction at the Springfield, Mo., airport, which cost $35 million.
“I realize this project is a monument and a cornerstone for the community,” Garrett said. “The buck stops at my desk: whether it’s the good, the bad or the indifferent, I oversee everything and will do my best to make sure it’s done right and on time.”
Paul Stewart, director of facilities planning, offered a timeline that factored in weather delays and other issues that may arise.  He says the project and parking lot will be enclosed by January 2014 and completed by late summer or early fall 2014.
“We do expect August as the completion date, but keep in mind that we have to work through two winters,” Stewart said.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held in the John Lance Arena because of cold weather. The PSU trumpet ensemble kicked the event off and Kathleen Flannery, executive director of university development, introduced all the speakers.
SGA President Lara Ismert started by saying it was a historic day for Pitt State. She says the university was once a cultural hub for the region and could be again.
“Students voted overwhelmingly for this,” Ismert said. “We used to attract artists like Duke Ellington and speakers like Ralph Nader.  We want to do that again.”
Kam Koenek performed with the

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