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Fundraising for Charles Koch Arena and Eck Stadium assisted by leadership council

Members of the Leadership Council
Members of the Leadership Council for Athletic Facilities include: (l-r) Eric Namee, Clif Larison, Debbie Haynes, Tom Dondlinger, Renae Ryan, Chonci Lekawa, Elliot Lekawa and Leon Lungwitz. Not pictured are Dorothy Cohen, Bill Cohen, Nate Robertson, Lisa Sutherland and Steve Sutherland.

Tom Dondlinger didn’t have to think long when he was asked to head up the volunteer leadership council for two of the WSU Foundation’s current fundraising priorities — expanding and renovating Koch Arena and completing the Eck Stadium project.

“I was thrilled — having been a Shocker fan all my life,” he said. “Serving on the council has afforded me an added bonus of meeting and getting to know better some outstanding Shocker fans who serve with me. We are having a lot of fun!”

Dondlinger and 12 other Wichita State friends have agreed to help the WSU Foundation and WSU Athletics raise about $12 million for the Koch project and $2 million for Eck Stadium. They will spend the coming months meeting with potential donors to outline the importance of the initiatives.

The Koch project highlights two major areas: the creation of a new Student-Athlete Success Center, to be built just south of the arena, and the renovation of office space inside Koch. The 48,000-square-foot Success Center will include a large study hall, tutoring rooms and computer center as well as a strength and conditioning center, student lounge and office complex.

Inside Koch Arena, cramped and well-worn office space will be reorganized and updated to make it more welcoming, functional and inspiring. Also included in the project: moving the Shocker retail store to a larger space in the arena and renovating the Champions Club to improve visitors’ experiences.

Dondlinger, president of Dondlinger and Sons Construction, is coming full circle with this project.

“Our family constructed Henry Levitt Arena, aka ‘The Roundhouse,’ in the mid-1950s,” he said, “and I have been attending games ever since. Our firm also came back 47 years later and did the renovations for what’s now known as Charles Koch Arena.

“To top it off, I gave my then future wife, Colleen, two options on our first date: A romantic dinner with low lights, soft music and fine wines or attend a Shocker basketball game. She chose the latter and the rest is history. Go Shocks!”

circle arrow For details about the Eck project, please refer to the January 2015 and January 2016 issues of Horizon.

 

Leadership Council for Athletic Facilities 

  • Tom Dondlinger, chair; president of Dondlinger and Sons Construction
  • Bill Cohen, former chairman and CEO of IMA Financial Group
  • Dorothy Cohen
  • Debbie Haynes '76, retired physician of Via Christi Clinic
  • Clif Larison, president/owner of V.J. Engineering & Technical Services Inc.
  • Chonci Lekawa, realtor with RE/Max
  • Elliot Lekawa '85, president of Hudson Holdings Inc.
  • Leon Lungwitz '70, co-owner of The Print Source Inc.
  • Eric Namee '80, tax/employee benefits attorney for Hinkle Law Firm LLC
  • Nate Robertson, owning partner of the Wichita Wingnuts
  • Renae Ryan
  • Lisa Sutherland
  • Steve Sutherland '74, president/CEO of National Plastics Color Inc.