The entirely new Breidenthal University House is nearing completion at an estimated $1.4 million to date. The house will be the home for the President of Emporia State and her family.

To show the progress on the construction, ESU held a media press tour led by Stephen Williams, the former chair of the ESU Foundation Board of Trustees.

“This is a project that began in 2015,” said Williams. “The funding for this is 100% private donors above and beyond what they are already willing to do for the university. It took nothing away from student scholarships.”

According to Williams, the Kansas State Board of Regents requires on-campus housing for the university president. Williams said that since it is on campus, it is considered a state building.

“That is why it is located-on campus,” Williams said. “In the meantime, President Garrett has been residing off-campus, but we had to get special permission from the Board of Regents for that to happen while we are going through this process.”

The $1.4 million estimate, according to Gwen Larson, assistant director of marketing and media, excludes the landscaping planned for the spring and the furniture for the house.

According to Shane Shivley, the Foundation president, the previous house was an embarrassment.

“President Shonrock said give yourself a tour and when you get to that phase of the interview process do not show them the current home,” Shivley said. “It caught me like a ton of brick, what do you mean we can’t show them the space…So that was really eye opening for me.”

The tour of the house was conducted by ESU Ambassadors. Situated behind the Sauder Alumni center atop a hill, the house is filled with limestone, fireplaces and an advanced fire suppression system. It is separated into private and public spaces with a conference room and Sodexo operated kitchen on one side and the President’s four bedrooms, three and a half baths on the other. With storage, a kitchen and a cedar brick storm shelter/panic room the house itself is nearly finished.

According to Shivley, since the President will have plenty of guests on behalf of the university, it will be nice to have a place on campus where they can have more informal conversations and host a variety of events.

“From our facilities standpoint Mark Runge would say we did everything we could,” said Diana Kuhlmann, vice president of administration and finance. “It was a 1960’s structure that was cinder block so there was only so much we could do to make it attractive. Mark was on the design committee and there were a lot of things in here that were a part of his vision to tie in other parts of the campus and I would say probably this was his crowning achievement during his career here at ESU.”

Other than a plaque listing donors who contributed more than $5,000, individual donation amounts are private. President Garrett is scheduled to move in at the beginning of December.

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