CSU-Pueblo has a lot of new changes this semester on campus. The one that students notice as they enter the campus are the improvements to the Buell Communications Center, which includes an improved visitor’s center.
Joe Marshall, the assistant vice president of enrollment management at CSU-Pueblo said he created the first center four years ago.
Marshall said the first visitor’s center was a part of the admissions office. “I created the visitors center, created the position, and hired Dana Trujillo as the first coordinator of our Visitor’s Center,” he said.
Marshall said he had always wanted the visitor’s center to have its own space.
“I always envisioned finding a donor to help us create a building somewhere by where (the Buell Communications Center) is now at the entrance to the campus that is dedicated exclusively to the visitor’s center,” he said.
Getting the new location was not easy, Marshall said.
“There were a lot of people who wanted to use Buell Communications Center, so I stayed out of that for four years. As a matter of fact, I had never been in that building until a couple of months ago,” he said.
“When the president said he recognized the need for a highly visible Visitor’s Center, which I did years ago, and he said he’d like to consider moving it up to (Buell Communtcations Center). I said, ‘Wonderful!’ and jumped into it,” he said.
There were obstacles the center had to face during the move, Marshall said.
Space is an issue on this campus. Generically, there are a lot of functions and not enough space. It just meant the staff at the center had to work hard to coordinate things. But staff at the center didn’t get any resistance from anybody, he said.
The staff at the center worked very closely with the tenants in BCC with the architecture, Marshall said. “We had a very good relationship with everybody so I can’t complain about anything,” he said.
Tiffany Kingrey, the visitor’s center coordinator, said the money for the improvements came from reserved money and fees.
“There was a Buell Communications Center fund that was set up and that money was only to be used for improvements on the Buell Communications Center. So that’s how… all improvements are being done,” Kingrey said.
“The parking lot is through student, faculty and staff fees. Essentially, the building funds couldn’t be used for anything else, it had to be used to improve the building,” Kingrey said.
The visitor’s center has a good relationship with the other offices in the building, Marshall said.
“We have to share space with the (KTSC-Rocky Mountain PBS) [and] with mass communications. Everybody gets along wonderfully, but that’s a lot of different functions in one building,” he said.
Marshall said they chose to put the center in the BCC instead of the Occhiato University Center because it is the first building visitors see as they drive onto campus.
The new location reflects the visitor’s center’s objective, he said.
“(Our objective is) to showcase the university in the best possible light with our prospective students. Anybody who visits campus, we want to give them the best impression of the campus that we can give,” he said.
Marshall said he thinks the visitor’s center will increase the university’s enrollment.
“We’ve already noticed a marked improvement just from operating the visitor’s center in here. Our enrollment has been going up steadily,” he said.
“So again, every happy visitor to campus, their likelihood of saying, ‘Yeah, I want to go to CSU – Pueblo,’ increases. So I think it will have a positive impact,” Marshall said.
He said he thinks the center will give prospective students a great impression of the university.
“We hope it’s going to put a great face on the university. The first thing (students) are going to see is the beautiful communications center with the nice parking lot with dedicated parking spots [and] a welcoming staff to give tours of campus,” Marshall said.
“(Mass Communications) is a very attractive major, and we put in that window so visitors can see students operating the radio station,” He said. “So in short, we think we’re going to be able to immediately impress on people how attractive CSU-Pueblo is.”
The Pueblo community also benefits from the new Visitor’s Center, Marshall said.
“Happy visitors to CSU-Pueblo will generally be happy visitors to Pueblo, so it’s a symbiotic relationship. We have a stake in Pueblo,” Marshall said.
“So every visitor to the campus we can impress will have benefits to the city of pueblo and vice versa,” Marshall said.