Ransdell’s office could potentially move to old alumni center building

Taylor Harrison

Now that the Augenstein Alumni Center is open, WKU needs to decide what to do with the Craig Alumni Center.

President Ransdell said one option is moving his office from the Wetherby Administration Building to the old alumni center, which originally served as the place where the university presidents lived.

“I’m thinking about that,” he said. “We’re going to restore that original president’s home. It’s very much a part of our early history as a university, so we’re going to restore it, and I’m giving thought to putting my office in one of the upstairs bedrooms.”

Since this is just in the planning stages and isn’t set in stone, Ransdell isn’t sure what the cost of the project would be yet.

Ransdell’s idea is to move his staff to the second floor, while leaving the first floor open to public space.

However, regardless of whether Ransdell’s office ends up there, the connector that is currently between the Craig Alumni Center and the College Heights Foundation will definitely be removed.

“We haven’t started a renovation or anything yet; won’t do anything probably till this summer,” he said. “Not really much of a renovation, just restoring the building to its original architectural integrity.”

He said he does not think the building has ever served as a president’s office, but Presidents Kelly Thompson, Paul Garrett and Henry Hardin Cherry lived there.

If this move does happen, Ransdell’s current office space would likely be divided up between the Office of Public Affairs and the Office of Development.

He said there is a lot of pressure for space in Wetherby.

Bryan Russell, the director of Planning, Design and Construction, said he’s not sure of the details, but the connector on the buildings is definitely being removed.

“You can’t really restore the original property without taking that off,” Russell said.

He said the two buildings will be separated as part of a master plan for WKU’s construction.

“The two buildings really don’t belong with each other,” he said. “Part of our master plan is to restore to our campus the…synergies of everything.”

Russell said they don’t want to have modern buildings next to old buildings on campus, but want to be more consistent for the architectural design of the entire campus.

“We want our visitors, our students and everybody that comes to our campus to be, you know, to feel like this is a special place,” he said.

Ransdell said he likes the historical significance of the potential move.

“I’m kind of enamored with the president’s office being in the original president’s home,” he said.