Tarleton Welcome Center draws 4,000 visitors

By Ansley Bartley – 

The “new” Welcome Center at Tarleton State University is almost one year old and has welcomed about 4,000 visitors since June 2012. It opened the last week in May 2012.

Almost three years ago, President Dominic Dottavio mentioned that a new Welcome Center was greatly needed. The Welcome Center was where housing is now and had outgrown the office, so the employees realized they needed more space. They were struggling to find more seats for the tour groups because the old lobby only had six chairs.

(Megan Kramer, Texan News Service)

(Megan Kramer, Texan News Service)

The money for the new center did not raise tuition or have any effect on city taxes. The A&M System gave Tarleton the money because of the need to grow.

The employees of the Welcome Center were able to help plan the building of the new center, so the number of workers, size of tour groups, and number of tours they give would all work in one building.

“We want to showcase what sets us apart,”  said John Gressett, a recruiter at the Welcome Center.

After about two years of construction the employees of the Welcome Center made the move to 1205 W. Washington St., leaving everything behind except a few decorations. The center is filled with all new furniture and more Tarleton historical decorations. Some of the historical decorations they have in the center are items about Coach Wisdom, best known for coaching baseball but he also coached football and basketball. The diploma of the first female to graduate from Tarleton in 1903 is among the decor. Also, the Purple Poo and Plow Boys have some of their history proudly being shown off in the Welcome Center.

Laurie Gaiser, director of the Welcome Center, picked out all the fabrics and furniture to represent the center. Gaiser had a reason for picking brown and plum colors. Jessica Hendrickson, the Welcome Center coordinator, said those colors were chosen, “Because they are warm. The goal of the Welcome Center is to make everyone feel welcomed and make it feel homey, like Tarleton is the big family, so to make it feel like you were coming home when you walked in and not like an office.”

The new building has two televisions in the lobby that post guests’ names on the screen to welcome them, 10 employee offices, one student work office, a computer lab, a presentation room and a lobby. Individual offices allow employees to have one-on-one meetings. The new building has not changed the number of employees or student workers.

Hendrickson said, “It really helps us have a sense of accomplishment and to see all the hard work in a physical form.”

Ansley Bartley is a public relations and event management major from Dumas, Texas.
Edited by Katherine Gibbs.

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