The Barton School's new $60 million home
Wayne and Kay Woolsey Hall, a $60 million, 136,000-square-foot academic building under construction on Wichita State University's Innovation Campus, is slated to open in 2022. When complete it will be the new home of the W. Frank Barton School of Business.
At the Oct. 2020 groundbreaking ceremony for the building, Barton School Dean Larisa Genin told students the facility will be a place “where you will explore your full potential and ambitions.”
“Whether it’s launching a career, starting your own business or working to solve problems in our world, Woolsey Hall will be your lab, your sandbox, your incubator, your oyster to create amazing pearls. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish,” Genin said.
Woolsey Hall is named for the Wichita couple who provided the lead gift to the WSU Foundation’s fundraising campaign. The business school plans to move to the new building in 2022 from Clinton Hall, which has been its home since 1970.
The structure will be a three-level, LEED-certified building — the first building on the Wichita State campus to be LEED-certified. It was designed by the architectural team of GastingerWalker of Kansas City and Gensler Chicago. Dondlinger Construction of Wichita won the competitive bid to build the facility.
W. Frank Barton School of Business
Elizabeth King, WSU Foundation president and CEO, says the building will be the culmination of eight years of fundraising and years of planning
“I’m deeply grateful to all who recognized the value that a first-class business school facility will have for our students, our faculty and our community,” King said.
Developing future business leaders
Among those speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony was Marc Woolsey, representing his parents, Wayne and Kay Woolsey, who donated $12 million to the fundraising campaign. Wayne Woolsey, who founded the Woolsey Companies, was unable to attend the event. Kay Woolsey died in 2018.
“It was my father’s entrepreneurial mindset – a belief in taking risks and making new discoveries – that was one of the reasons my parents made the gift they did,” said Marc Woolsey, a Wichita State graduate. “My father said he hoped their financial support would help develop future entrepreneurs and business leaders for our community.”
Others who spoke at the celebration included Intrust Bank President Jay Smith, who co-chaired a volunteer committee of community and business leaders who helped the WSU Foundation raise private funds; Fidelity Bank Chairman Clark Bastian, whose family and bank were major contributors to the project; and Craig Barton, son of W. Frank Barton, for whom the business school is named.
Wichita State President Rick Muma says the new facility signifies Wichita State’s commitment to excellence and its willingness to invest in endeavors it believes will bring distinction to the university.
“I’m excited for the generations of students who will benefit from this dynamic facility, for the faculty and staff who will be inspired and invigorated by it, and for the community connections and partnerships that will flourish inside it,” Muma said.