Features of Alumni Center to pay homage to WKU

JEFF BROWN/Herald The Augenstein Alumni Center started construction on July 15, 2011.

Kayla Swanson

Construction is under way on the new home for WKU alumni, the Augenstein Alumni Center.

Project manager Kerra Ogden said construction would be finished in February 2013 with a grand opening following in April.

The center is located on Alumni Square, which is on the corner of Center Street and Alumni Avenue.

William Skaggs, director of Annual Giving, said the building will have features that resemble other parts of campus.“We have really, intentionally tied in a lot of architecture from around the campus,” Skaggs said.

For example, the 13 spouts in the fountain outside the center represent the 13 columns of the Colonnades, Skaggs said.

Other similarities are the brick, the columns in the front of the building and the building’s pitched roof.

The first floor of the center features a ballroom, a WKU-related museum and a gallery that will show photography and artwork done by WKU students and faculty.

Skaggs said that there would also be a tile mosaic on the first floor that will “display the flavor of life on the Hill.”

The second floor features a replica fireplace to the one in the current alumni center.

Skaggs said the current alumni center building will stay on campus, but plans for that building aren’t finalized.

A library, dining room, boardroom, auditorium and a “Hall of Inspiration” completes the second floor.

The Hall of Inspiration plans to display  a group of distinguished alumni plaques and display cases showing what WKU alumni have done, Skaggs said.

He said that people visiting the hall will understand what alumni can do with their degree.

“…you can be an astronaut, you can be a famous musician and win Grammy Awards and Dove Awards, you can be an outstanding visual artist, you can invent Diet 7UP or the nicotine patch; anything that you might want to accomplish,” he said.

The top floor will be for office space.

Ogden said that the building is also set to be LEED certified.

A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification means the building has environmentally friendly practices and helps WKU earn recognition in sustainability.

Kathryn Costello, vice president for Development and Alumni Relations, said efforts to fundraise the $8.6 million cost of the center are going well.

“The whole alumni board and staff have really been good,” she said. “They are very close to what they consider the basic goal of $5 million.”

Costello said that the alumni reaction to the building of the new alumni center has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The alumni of this institution, in my experience, really have an affection for the place and they want to come back and now they will have a home to come back to,” she said.