After 16 months of construction at a cost of $5.7 million, the Fort Hays State University Robbins Center grand opening will begin with a ribbon-cutting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.
The first event in the 28,900-square-foot building, which will be home to the university's Alumni Association and the FHSU Foundation, will be a public open house, to tour the facility. Refreshments will be served.
"It will be completely open to the community," said Tim Chapman, Foundation president and CEO. "We hope all will take the time to walk through the Robbins Center and experience the scope of support and services that will be provided."
The building will serve as a place for university organizations, students and faculty to hold special events and provide a comfortable place for alumni to gather while visiting FHSU.
It was named after lead donors to the building W.R. “Bill” and Yvonne Robbins of Great Bend. As the final project in the university's 2002 Centennial Fundraising Campaign, funding was entirely by private donations from more than 1,000 people.
The Robbins Center is located on the west edge of campus just north of Gross Memorial Coliseum.
Debra Prideaux, executive director for alumni and governmental relations at FHSU, said moving to the Robbins Center will mark the first time the Alumni Association has occupied space built specifically for hosting alumni.
"For the first time since being established in 1916, the association has a permanent home designed solely as space to engage in the variety of constituents it serves," she said. "The center offers not only elegance, but also warmth, accessibility and all the conveniences of the latest technology. We will be proud to call the Robbins Center home."
The facility features a 200-seat banquet hall with a fully equipped catering kitchen, an art gallery, a family room, several conference rooms with multi-media capability, a business center with wireless Internet access, and an outdoor garden terrace. It also has a communications room where the Tiger Call Phonathon, an annual fundraising drive for scholarships, will be conducted.
"The Robbins Center is a multi-functional facility for the university, community and our alumni and friends," said Chapman. "It's an exciting time for Fort Hays State. With the renovations of the Memorial Union and the opening of the Robbins Center, there aren't many functions the campus will not be able to accommodate."
Construction on the Robbins Center began in April 2006 and was completed this August.