$22 million Honors College facility planned

Kayla Swanson

Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Chi Omega sorority may be  moving out, but the Honors College is moving in.

After more than a decade of being in a small building, the Honors College has outgrown its home.

“When I arrived here in 2005, there were about 150 students active in the Honors program, I was the sole employee,” Craig Cobane, executive director of the Honors College and chief international officer, said. “This year we just broke 1,200 students and depending on how you count them, 12-15 employees.”

The building will be on Normal Street, occupying the space the Sig Eps and Chi Os left vacant, with the groundbreaking in less than 18 months, Cobane said.

In addition to being the new home for the Honors College, the building will also house the Office of Scholar Development, Flagship Chinese Program, Office of International Programs, Study Abroad and Global Learning, International Scholar and Student Services, Kentucky Institute for International Studies, Navitas and English as a Second Language Institute.

“It is not meant to serve just students who go abroad and Honors students,” Cobane said. “It’s meant to serve the entire campus.”

Combining these programs into one place will give students one place to go to deal with international studies, Cobane said.

“We want a building where people know how to find, whether it’s incoming international students, outgoing WKU students, domestic students,” he said. “Whatever the issue is, they know exactly where to go.”

The features of the building will include classrooms, offices, a backyard for outdoor events, a computer lab, a commons area and a café that will serve international cuisine.

The building is also set to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified.

Cobane said he hopes the building achieves at least a silver LEED rating.