Merket Expansion Construction Update
Written by Jean Ann Cantore '84, '87 and Renee Underwood '78
The 10,694 square foot facility is scheduled to be completed in spring 2010. More photos.
The expansion of the Merket Alumni Center continues to progress quickly. In the past week or so, a large portion of the cinder block wall surrounding the 700-square-foot storage area and the staging kitchen has been built. If you look closely, you can see the front part of the new reception hall evolving.
One of the first stages of construction involved building a temporary inner wall for the existing ballroom so that the outside wall could be removed. That outside wall is almost down.
With all the changes taking place at the construction site each week, it’s amazing to think that not that long ago, the building expansion was no more than an idea and then a blueprint. It won’t be long before a whole new section of the building stands where there once was nothing but grass.
Scheduled to be completed in spring 2010, the expansion project will nearly double the present Merket Alumni Center by adding 10,694 square feet. A new, second entrance into the facility will open into the Peggy and Bill Dean Grand Reception Hall. Three new banquet/meeting rooms will be constructed on the west end of the building.
According to campaign fundraising chairperson Nelda Laney, the Building on Tradition capital drive that began last October has raised more than $2,534,660 to date toward the $4 million project budget.
Other features in the addition include a new serving kitchen with storage; a new circulation, staging and planning office; a bride’s room and new restrooms. The existing kitchen will be remodeled into an office suite for the association’s marketing department. Two memorial groves will be planted on the grounds, and a second courtyard will be built to the east, featuring an outdoor gazebo.
Joe D. McKay of JDMA, Inc. is the architect for the project, Lee Lewis Construction, Inc. is the general contractor, and Ogallala Construction Management is serving as project manager.