Cottey College is moving toward creation of a new student center and air-conditioned Chapel. President Jann Weitzel told alumnae gathered on campus for Founder’s Day about Connect, an initiative to raise $2.5 million to upgrade the Chapel and create a new student center. The new student center will be in the lower level of the Chapel.

“The student center will give the entire campus as well as visitors a place to interact on a daily basis,” said Dr. Jann Weitzel, president of Cottey College. “Students faculty, staff and visitors will study, eat and socialize here. This exciting initiative will strengthen the Cottey community and create a more vibrant campus environment.”

Both the Cottey bookstore and the Chellie Club snack bar will move to the student center. To make the lower level both accessible and more engaging, terraces will be constructed on both sides of the Chapel.

The west patio of the student center initiative.

The west patio of the student center initiative.

“The student center is exactly what Cottey needs,” says Allyson Williams, Cottey senior and co-leader of the Chellie Club entrepreneurial lab. “This will add value to the people who are currently on campus, as well as to those who are thinking of going to college here.”

The Chapel was constructed in 1956 with gifts from the BILs, the spouses of members of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. The P.E.O. Sisterhood is the international women’s organization that owns and supports Cottey College. BILs are also taking an active role in fundraising for the current initiative.

Chuck Baker, a BIL from Ohio, is one of the initiative’s leaders. He says the lower level of the Chapel is a perfect place for the student center.

“It is the perfectly sized space, so we are able to stay within the existing footprint and get a lot more bang for our buck,” Baker says. “Natural light from the large windows also makes the space desirable.”

East Patio

The proposed east patio terraces for the student center project

Construction will begin when all funds necessary to complete the project have been committed. The anticipated timeline for completion is one year after funding has been secured.

The project was designed by Kansas City-based GastingerWalker&. Lead architect is Amy Eckhoff who is a Cottey College alumna. The Cottey College Alumnae Association recognized Eckhoff on Saturday with the Distinguished Alumna Award on Saturday, just before the announcement of the Connect initiative.