CULLOWHEE – Students, faculty and administrators at Western Carolina University gathered Friday, Sept. 30, to celebrate the end of the “campus run-around” at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the recently renovated Killian Annex Building.
The building, renovated with $2.9 million in funding from the 2000 N.C. Higher Education Bond Issue, includes Western’s new One Stop Student Support Center, which is designed to enable students to conduct a wide range of university-related business in one single location, instead of traveling to offices spread out across campus.
“This building represents that Western is attempting to provide convenience for its students,” said Jennifer Scism, a senior from Kings Mountain majoring in history. “You know, college can be very hard, especially if you are an active student. Through this building, Western is providing a caring environment for students, a place that lets students know Western cares about each and every one of them.”
Chancellor John W. Bardo said that bringing so many offices under a single roof is part of an on-going university effort to improve service to students. “Our whole approach is to encourage students to learn, to encourage them to get help, to be sure their needs are met, and to keep from running them from one side of campus to the other to do so,” Bardo said.
N.C. Sen. John Snow took a tour of the facility prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and told the crowd in attendance that he was impressed with what he saw. “The students I talked to tell me this concept truly is working,” Snow said. “I am pleased to see that the people’s money has been put to good use and that this facility will be a real asset for the students, staff and faculty.”
The renovation of Killian Annex, originally built in 1968 and home for many years to the university’s developmental evaluation programs and clinical activities in mental health, is the latest in a series of new or renovated buildings that are transforming Western’s campus, said Joan MacNeill of Webster, vice chair of Western’s board of trustees.
“Most importantly, this is a place for people to connect,” MacNeill said. “This building is part of the university’s on-going effort to enhance the learning environment for all the young men and young women who choose to study here in Western North Carolina.”
Kyle Carter, university provost who came to Western less than a year ago from Central Missouri State University, said similar student service centers are popping up on campuses across the country. “Service to students in a seamless approach is every bit as important as providing great academic programs led by great faculty,” Carter said. “We must meet the students’ needs in a trouble-free environment so they can concentrate on the main reason they are here – to learn.”
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Fred Hinson, senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, welcomed the crowd to tour the facility, which includes offices for Financial Aid, Student Accounts, Registrar, Cat Card and Advising offices. Killian Annex also contains offices for Catamount Academic Tutoring Center, Career Services/Cooperative Education and Student Support Services.
The building is named in honor of the late Carl Dan Killian, who served as dean of the College of Education and Allied Professions during his four decades of service to the university.