HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) – Enrollment at Fort Hays State University continues to rise, and officials are looking for ways to take care of all their students’ needs.
On Tuesday, the university announced a $5 million gift from FHSU alumni Richard and Dolores Fischli. Their gift will help fund the building of a new facility on campus, the Fischli-Wills Center for Student Success.
University officials say the Fischli-Wills Center for Student Success will help retain students and make sure they walk across the stage at Gross Memorial Coliseum as Fort Hays graduates.
“If we’re going to admit students to Fort Hays State, it is imperative that we help each of them through the academic journey,” said Joey Linn, vice president of student affairs.
As the school sees their enrollment numbers rising, many first-generation college students, the university wants to meet the needs of its student population.
According to Linn, the center will be a three-story building with the goal of providing services to its students.
The center will be connected to the Memorial Union, with day and evening hours. It will be a one-stop-shop for students to access academic, medical and mental health support. Right now, these resources are spread across the campus.
“You come to a place you don’t know the surroundings or the area around it,” explained senior Keaton Sorenson. “Then four years into it, you start knowing where to go, knowing where things are at, and then you want to utilize it and then you have to leave.”
Students said the center is another investment in their hopes and dreams, and appreciate the donors’ generosity.
“Fort Hays State has done a phenomenal job with retention and ensuring their students have all the resources necessary to ensure that they complete their four years,” said junior Keshawn Sewell.
The Fischli-Wills Center of Student Success is expected to cost almost $17 million, with almost $6 million coming from students — after they voted for a fee increase starting in 2019. University officials hope to have the building completed by December 2020.