Students Give Campus New Gateway on the West

Glennis Nagel

Student Body President Mike Eiberger, Vice President Kevin Wait and members of the UNK Student Government will leave the campus with more than a memory after they graduate.

The students will leave the campus with its first official identifier on the west edge of campus. The plan is to build a sign identifying the western edge of the campus at the corner of Highway 30 and University Drive.

“When you approach campus from the west, the sign at West Center is the first identifier of the UNK campus,” Wait said.

“Originally, we wanted to put a sign in the median just north of Cushing, but there was a concern that the sign would pose a traffic hazard,” Wait said. “Also, the Facilities Master Plan calls for the area north of Otto Olsen to be converted to green space. We wanted our sign to be where it would remain for a long time.”

It took some time to settle not only on the placement of the sign, but on the design as well.

“We wanted to be careful to come up with something everyone liked,” Wait said. It took some time to come to a consensus on the materials that would be used and a design that would fit the location.

The current plan is for an 8’4” tall by 24′ long sign built out of brick that matches Cope Stadium. The sign was designed by Ryan Swanson, associate director of Facilities Management and Planning.

The planning for the project, which is being financed entirely with student dollars, began last year.

“The Chancellor sent me an e-mail asking me to get involved a week before I began as interim vice chancellor for Business and Finance last July,” John Lakey said. “It was a neat idea, and the students were willing to put money up for it. I was able to coordinate the project with students and Facilities, and I found Kevin to be a real go-getter.”

“We felt that Mr. Lakey was instrumental in making it happen,” Wait said. “He was supportive from the beginning.” The project, which has been in development for the past two years, will use dollars from this year’s budget and last.

“A year ago, Student Senator Matt Sullivan wrote a bill for Student Senate to set aside $10,000 out of last year’s budget for this project,” Wait said. “While we expect the cost to be at $21,600, we’ve budgeted a total of $22,000.” The dollars came from student government.

“If there are funds left over after the construction is completed, we plan to use the remaining dollars to do some landscaping around the sign,” Wait said. “Also, there is no power to that location to light the sign at night. We would also like to get the sign lighted.”

The students are planning to do a brief groundbreaking March 1, and the sign is expected to be completed by commencement in the spring.

“We hope that this will be the beginning of a tradition and that each year, Student Government will give a gift to the campus,” he concluded.