Campus renovations could boost enrollment


Baker University is a campus filled with rich history.

Not only was it the first university established in Kansas, but there are three buildings on the National Register of Historic Places—Old Castle Museum, Parmenter Hall and Pulliam Hall.

The university’s history includes landmarks, traditions, athletic and, most importantly, academic successes.

Without the students who seek degrees in order to go on to become doctors, scientists, teachers, accountants, historians, or anything else, Baker University would not consist of such abundant history.

However, over the past few years, the university has seen enrollment numbers gradually decreasing. The campus is small and the small-class atmosphere is something many enjoy about Baker, but the numbers are getting dangerously low.

Just three years ago, there were 819 full-time degree seeking students. This spring, there are just 725 of us.

Administrators are working toward a plan to bring up the numbers, but it could be something else that does the job.

When students are looking for a college or university to attend, it is often the first impression that has the most effect on their decisions.

Looking around Baker, the buildings appear to be exactly what they are — historic.

Although the history of the university is important, renovations and updated buildings are proving and could continue to prove to be beneficial in attracting more students to come to Baker.

The completion of the Ivan L. Boyd Center for Collaborative Science Education was a huge stepping stone in the right direction for Baker.

Students who spend much of their time and classes in that building are excited about learning there. That then carries over into prospective students who come to look at Baker. When students visit Baker University, current students can show positivity and enthusiasm about the new building. In turn, hopefully the visitors will want to attend Baker for the same academic experience from the same building.

The modern look of the building and updated laboratory equipment are also a bonus in attracting students.

Also, the new plans for the Harter Union and Allen Dining Hall renovations are sure to bring in new students. University President Pat Long’s plans for the union call for a 400-seat multipurpose room, a food-court style of cafeteria, and spacious room filled with luxuries such as a coffee bar and pool table for students to enjoy.

The fresh look of a new student union is hopefully something high school students won’t be able to say no to.

Lastly, Denious Hall, which was renovated in 2011, serves as a welcoming starting place for prospective students. The bright walls and technology in the main lobby are meant to catch the visitors’ eyes.

With future renovations in store, that is just what BU is striving to do.

There are other buildings and aspects of Baker that could use a facelift, as well.

Prospective students aren’t always as interested in the history as we want them to be. Trying to sell them on the past isn’t always a safe bet. If the enrollment numbers at Baker are going to increase, it will definitely help to change the look of things a bit.