Grand opening of Wichita State’s swanky Shocker Hall marks a new era

08/14/2014 7:48 PM

08/15/2014 2:04 PM

Welcome to some of the swankiest, high-tech college bedrooms in the nation.

The grand opening of Wichita State University’s Shocker Hall drew between 400 and 500 people – and WuShock – on Thursday afternoon. Students are expected to begin moving in this weekend.

“After taking a brief tour, I’m summing up how any student who doesn’t get to live in this hall would feel … jealousy,” said Matthew Conklin, president of the WSU Student Government Association. “I was fortunate to live in Fairmount, but this is quite the upgrade and a very impressive facility.”

Steve Larson, director of WSU housing and resident life, said there are about 780 beds in five different room styles in Shocker Hall. Every bed has a window. There is a 24-hour front desk. And the new dormitory is wired – five Wi-fi connections per person.

Plus there are a 400-seat dining hall and a coffee shop, a kitchen and laundry room per floor, an honors college and – when students have some leisure time – a pool table and Foosball table in the main lounge.

“This new residence hall truly defines WSU’s commitment to residential living,” Larson said. “Shocker Hall residents will experience high-tech lounges with unprecedented Wi-fi capabilities in a community that will be second to none. ... Now we have embarked on a new residential-hall era.”

The hall is located between Cessna Stadium and Morrison Hall. Construction on the $60 million project began in May 2013.

Wheatshocker Apartments and Brennan Hall will no longer be used as residence halls. Larson said Wheatshocker Apartments, now more than half a century old, will be razed in late September or early October. Brennan Hall will be used for office space.

WSU President John Bardo told the audience that gathered for Thursday’s grand opening that WSU is celebrating a new focus and direction for the university.

“We are celebrating a change in the life of the university associated with increasing the quality of student experience,” Bardo said. “… Today, we are changing their experience to offer them the opportunity to get to know each other, work together, and to collaborate – to enjoy each other and be part of a major, emerging national research university.”

““Research universities are going to drive the future of our communities and drive the prosperity of the United States. That is what we are and what this building is about,” Bardo said.

Bardo told the audience signs will soon be placed on the campus that say, “Welcome Home. We missed you.”

“We are trying to create a living situation,” Bardo said. “This is about being a Shocker. It is about doing the right things the right way.”

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

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