WKU Proposed Expansion

By: Tamara Evans
By: Tamara Evans

In the past, Western Kentucky University has continued to grow in one direction, but that may change since they're running out of places to build.

Now, they're looking at nearby streets by campus to expand for a new College of Education building.

According to Western's Vice-President of Student Affairs, Gene Tice, the area from Regents Avenue along Normal Street is the area that the university is hoping to exand.

"The campus in terms of expansion...we're landlocked, and looking for areas...and the Normal Street Area is the most logical area, if we can grow in that area and not really make the campus longer at this point", says Tice.

Residents, such as WKU employees, Bill and Joey Powell, live along Regents Avenue, and are wondering just how this campus expansion will affect them.

"It's not in the best interest of these families that have lived here for 35 years. I just think that there are alternatives. There's alot of land our there", says Bill Powell.

The Five-Year Master Plan being proposed would ultimately make room for parking and both an Education and Business building....all which would be built along the area extending from Regents Avenue to Normal Drive.

"We've experienced tremendous growth in our student population during the last four or five years, which is a very positive thing for the community and for the university. As a part of that growth, we have buildings that need to be replaced, buildings that need to be renovated...so we're trying to accomodate those needs", says Tice.

Residents of Regents Avenue are just hoping the university considers all options first.

Our property only goes back 120 feet, so I just can't understand why they couldn't make their plans for 120 feet north of what they're planning now in order to save a great old neigborhood", says Bill Powell.

"I just thought that we would outlive them...that we wouldn't be around when they in fact take over this property...but it looks like this time this isn't going to be the case", says Joey Powell.

According to Tice, nothing has been set in stone just yet.

"We've not made any decisions in terms of where these buildings are going to be located...we'll have alot more conversations with the residents on Regents but at this point its kinda premature to say exactly what it is we'll be doing", says Tice.

The university will be asking for funding for the College of Education project this legislative session, and if approved, construction for the building will begin in the next two to three years.


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