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      $10.9 million Student Center expansion at WTAMU opens

      The outside of the new JBK expansion.

      Officials at West Texas A&M University cut the ribbon to the $10.9 million expansion of the Jack B. Kelley (JBK) Student Center Tuesday afternoon.

      The expansion marked the completion of two years of construction to the 43-year-old building.

      Approved by a student referendum in Oct. 2009, the project includes lobby/common areas, office space, information center, catering kitchen, student lounge, study spaces, new Senate chambers, meeting rooms and Legacy Hall.

      Legacy Hall is a multi-purpose room capable of seating 500 banquet-style or 700 theatre-style.

      "We were in need of extra space because of our growing student population," Director of the JBK Chance Haugen said. "This new expansion will help us provide our students with a functional learning environment as well as a great place to just hang out."

      The expansion also includes smart technology features throughout with extra plug-ins and charging stations, projection screens and electronic signage.

      Water fountains that are equipped for filling water bottles are also in the new expansion. A wall sculpture by Oregon artist Eric Langeliers, measuring 26 feet by 9.5 feet, also stands that depicts a stampeding herd of buffaloes.

      Western Builders of Amarillo served as the contractor.

      The JBK was built in 1968 as an administration building and was renovated to be the new Student Center in 1988.