Overman turns dirt on namesake’s expansion
| Marcus Clem editor in chief |
Many recent Pittsburg State construction projects started with a ceremonial groundbreaking, except these events mostly “broke ground” indoors on the John Lance Arena’s wooden gym floor.
Finally, for the centerpiece student life destination on campus, the weather cooperated. On Wednesday, April 30, a groundbreaking was held outdoors on the planned construction site of the Jack H. Overman Student Center expansion.
The radical renovation, scheduled to be finished in 12 to 14 months, will launch the building into the 21st century, university officials say.
It first opened its doors in 1951 and saw additions in 1963 and 1995; interior renovations to the food service area came in 2002.
This project, says Steve Erwin, associate vice president of campus life and auxiliary services, will add 31,000 square feet of floor space and renovate the same amount of existing space.
“Our students will experience a facility unlike any in the region,” Erwin said at the event. “This groundbreaking is also special because this project was initiated and funded almost entirely by our students.”
The complex renovation plans include a larger and renovated Crimson and Gold Ballroom; new and larger office space for Student Activities Council and Student Government Association on the main floor of the building; a larger and more diverse food service area; a relocation and resizing of the Commerce Bank branch; several new meeting areas; and an outdoor furnished gathering space.
Beside Jack Overman himself, Steve Scott, university president, Jordan Schaper, SGA president, and Catherine Geiger, SAC president, were among those chosen to symbolize the project’s start by turning over a shovelful of dirt on site. Regent Ed McKechnie of the Kansas Board of Regents, who graduated from Pitt State in 1986, was also a participant.
Several speakers humorously referenced the fact that many students hang out in Overman, sometimes at the expense of their coursework.
“I didn’t spend that much time in the student center,” Scott said with a mock defensive tone of his time as a student. “I did go to class.”
McKechnie played off of Scott’s comment in his own speech.
“So I spent a lot of time in the student center and ended up being on the Board of Regents,” he said, emphasizing with humor the fact that the board has oversight power over Scott’s role as president, “and Steve didn’t spend any time there … So, maybe we’ll figure out how that works.”
For complete expansion plans and more information, go to www.pittstate.edu/info/student-center/index.dot.