Although President Steve Scott was one of the first to caution that “there’s still a lot of work to do,” advocates for the construction of a fine and performing arts building on campus were encouraged in August when the university took the step of hiring an architectural firm to begin planning for the new facility.

Representatives from ACI/Frangkiser Hutchens, Inc., an architectural firm with offices in Leawood, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.; and St. Louis, Mo., began meeting with various groups on campus in the fall to begin the complicated process of matching hopes and dreams with programs and resources.

The construction of a fine and performing arts building has been discussed almost from the day old Carney Hall was vacated in 1978. In his opening remarks to faculty in August, the president listed the fine and performing arts building as one area of strategic focus for the coming year.

“I want to energize the campus (around this project),” President Scott said. “Hiring an architect is a huge step forward.”

The dream got a jump start in recent years with a $10 million anonymous pledge. The university now has $6 million of that pledge in hand, Scott said, and it is time to make the dream a little less abstract so additional funding can be pursued.