Dedication of new Heather Hall, a residential building, a highlight of Homecoming activities

Fort Hays State University will dedicate the last half of a total $9.2 million residence hall project Saturday, Oct. 5, when President Edward H. Hammond dedicates Heather Hall.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at the southeast corner of the block, at the intersection of Custer Drive and Dwight Drive. The public is welcome. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will move indoors.

A tour and light refreshments will follow the ceremony.

With Agnew Hall, its sister building occupying the opposite corner of the same block, the replacement of old Agnew Hall is complete. New Agnew Hall was dedicated at Homecoming 2012. Together, the two buildings comprise Tiger Place, a total of 230 beds.

The newest addition to suite-style student living at FHSU is named for the late Jack Heather, who began teaching at the university in 1950. He was hired by what was then the Speech Department to found and develop the radio curriculum.

For more than a decade, he and his students worked with homemade and borrowed equipment. The program expanded into television in 1956, and one of Heather's greatest challenges was to get air time without any equipment. He used KAYS-TV facilities during the station's off-air hours until he was able to create the university's radio station, which went live in 1962.

Today's Heather Hall not only helps replace the original Agnew, it replaces the name of the building built in 1981 to house the broadcasting program.

That building is now called the Center for Media Studies. It is scheduled to be replaced with an open green space sometime after the Center for Networked Learning, under construction next to Tomanek Hall, opens and houses radio and television studios as well as the Virtual College, the Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning technology, the Department of Informatics and laboratories for the information system engineering program.

Heather, who retired in 1988, passed away in 2011. Members of his family will be recognized at the dedication ceremony.

The original Agnew Hall, costing $650,000, was completed in 1957 to house 170 women. It was named for Elizabeth Jane Agnew, hired in 1910 to teach domestic economy, who became dean of women before her retirement in 1943.

Tiger Place, with its two residence halls, is the third project to be completed of four major construction projects, totalling $30 million, initiated to accommodate the university's growth. From an enrollment of 5,800 in 2000, FHSU enrollment grew to 13,441 this fall. A recent study by The Chronicle of Higher Education found that, in the first 10 years of this century, FHSU was the third-fastest growing university in the United States.

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