Education

Wichita State gets $1 million gift to help modernize aerospace building

A $1 million gift from the Dwane and Velma Lunt Wallace Foundation will help renovate Wallace Hall, an aerospace engineering building at Wichita State University.
A $1 million gift from the Dwane and Velma Lunt Wallace Foundation will help renovate Wallace Hall, an aerospace engineering building at Wichita State University. Courtesy of Wichita State University Foundation

Wichita State University has received a $1 million gift to help renovate the aerospace engineering building on campus, the university foundation announced Monday.

The $1 million in remodeling money comes courtesy of the Dwane and Velma Lunt Wallace Foundation. It will pay for part of the modernization of Wallace Hall, the campus building that bears the couple’s name.

The Wichita State University Foundation announced the gift in its e-Horizon monthly newsletter.

The total cost of the project is not yet known, but the university has agreed to provided some funding for exterior and interior work, and Professional Engineering Consultants will donate services to design the project, said Belinda Venters, a spokeswoman for the foundation.

Wallace Hall was built in the 1970s and has not been significantly upgraded since then, officials said.

“What I want to see most are improved spaces for students,” Royce Bowden, dean of the College of Engineering, said in a statement. “This building has limited gathering places for them to network and study between classes.”

As part of the renovation, some spaces will be converted to faculty offices and research laboratories to accommodate an increase in staffing.

Classrooms and other uses that are displaced will be moved to the Experiential Engineering Building, which is expected to open in January at the university’s Innovation Campus.

The late Dwane Wallace, a former president, chairman and chief executive of Cessna Aircraft, graduated from Wichita State in 1933. He died in 1989, and his wife died in 2012.

The newsletter quoted Steph Johnson, a granddaughter of Dwane and Velma Wallace’s, as saying that the family is “excited to support Wichita State’s ongoing investment in its engineering students and the enrichment of learning opportunities in and out of the classroom.”

“As our grandparents were before us, we are proud to be part of Shocker nation,” Johnson said.

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas

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