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WSU opens new business school building on Innovation Campus

Woolsey Hall
Wichita State University Strategic Communications
Woolsey Hall opened on Monday as Wichita State students returned for the fall semester.

Woolsey Hall opened on Monday as students returned to class for the fall semester.

Wichita State students returning to campus on Monday were greeted by Woolsey Hall, the business school’s new home.

The $60 million building was funded through private donations. It’s named after Wayne and Kay Woolsey, who provided the largest donation of about $10 million.

Construction of the 125,000 square-foot building took about two years. It’s the first traditional academic building on WSU’s Innovation Campus since its development began in 2014.

Zane Clark is a senior studying accounting at WSU. He said the business school’s previous home, Clinton Hall, had many classrooms underground and had poor circulation.

“You were never comfortable in there, and the lack of windows to look outside – see what’s going on,” he said. “It’s almost like you just walked into a cement block, and that was it until you walked back outside.”

Clark, a transfer student from Neosho County Community College, said the prospect of Woolsey was one of the reasons he transferred to WSU. He described the building as a major upgrade, saying its open design makes it feel like a professional environment.

“It helps me feel more motivated, inspired, and it just makes me want to do my best and continue to learn,” he said.

Woolsey Hall (interior)
Wichita State University Strategic Communications
One of the core features of Woolsey Hall is the Koch Atrium, which features a winding staircase.

Dotty Harpool is the executive director of marketing, enrollment and communications for the business school. She said the building “represents the professionalism” of the department.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with getting this new building and providing the level of education that we have,” she said. “So we think others will notice.

“It’s going to be a real beacon on campus, and it’s going to be a whole lot of fun to show prospective students where they could call home.”

All business school classes will be hosted at Woolsey, along with some nonbusiness classes.

Harpool said some of the building’s exterior features and internal technology are still in development due to supply chain issues, including the multimillion dollar “Promise Bridge.” She said the bridge represents the relationship between business, research and academics at WSU.

“But the classrooms are all functioning, and we’re just excited to see our students,” she said.

Daniel Caudill is a general assignment reporter for KMUW. He was a reporter, photographer and digital content manager for The Derby Informer and an editor and reporter for The Sunflower. In the spring of 2020, Daniel helped cover the legislative session in Topeka as an intern for the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Twitter @CaudillKMUW.