Western to cut ribbons on Bird, McKee Buildings Friday, November 21

CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University will hold public ribbon-cutting ceremonies Friday, Nov. 21, to unveil its newly renovated Bird and McKee buildings.

The ceremony at Bird Building will begin at 9 a.m., and the ribbon-cutting at McKee Building, located just across Central Drive from Bird Building, will start at 11 a.m. Tours of both facilities will be available.

Bird Building, which once served as Western’s administration building, was built in 1960 and named after W. Ernest Bird, acting president of the university from 1947 to 1949 and president from 1956 to 1957. Prior to renovation, the facility was home to Western’s regional outreach and economic development offices.

Now redesigned to house both a state-of-the-art Student Health Center, and Counseling and Psychological Services office, the structure has been rewired with current electrical and information technology systems. Air conditioning has been installed, space reconfigured and the second floor renovated to improve access.

Western’s historic McKee Building was constructed as a laboratory school in 1939 and named in honor of Gertrude Dills McKee, first woman to be elected to the N.C. Senate and a two-term member of the university’s board of trustees. Renovations have been completed to configure classrooms for modern collegiate instruction, install adequate wiring, improve access and eliminate water intrusion on the ground floor.

McKee Building provides instructional space for the departments of history, modern foreign languages, anthropology and sociology, and social work, including room for new programs in Cherokee Studies and forensic anthropology. The facility also now houses Western’s Teaching Fellows Program, and Speech and Hearing Center.

Funding for the $1.8 million Bird Building project and the $5.2 million McKee Building project was made available through the November 2000 higher education bond approved by North Carolina voters.

Those planning to attend either or both ceremonies are asked to R.S.V.P. by Friday, Nov. 14, to Sharlo Farineau at (828) 227-3473 for Bird Building, and to Zeta Smith at (828) 227-3039 for McKee Building.