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Habitat for Humanity to benefit from president’s residence salvage items

January 18, 2017

The Emporia State University Foundation is giving back to the Emporia community by partnering with Habitat for Humanity to donate items from the current President’s Residence. The current home, built in 1960, is slated to be torn down to make room for a new University House.

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world, including the Emporia community.

The Habitat for Humanity organization will be allowed into the home to salvage any items that can be used such as doors, windows and fixtures. These items will be transported to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Topeka, where they will be sold. A portion of the funds from the sale of these items will benefit Emporia’s Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

"Habitat for Humanity seeks to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. The primary way we support our mission is through ReStore sales,” said Janice Watkins, executive director of the Topeka Habitat for Humanity. “This collaboration with Topeka Habitat for Humanity, our partners at Emporia Habitat for Humanity and Emporia State University, not only increases awareness of our mission, but allows us to recycle and reuse items that may have not otherwise have been salvaged to decrease the environmental imprint in our communities."

Sally Conard, Board Secretary of Emporia Habitat for Humanity, said the Emporia affiliate was started in the 1990s and their 18th home in the area is nearing completion.

“Our builds are completed with lots of donations of not only building materials and items for the house, but also donations of money to help pay for the things we need and also labor that we use to complete our buildings,” Conard said.

Conard said it can be difficult to use materials donated. Those are sold at ReStore, with funds benefiting home builds.

“They sell the public a myriad of items that have been donated by individuals,” she said. “These stores are phenomenal.”

Conard said she is grateful for the gift Emporia State is making through the donation of materials.

“I was so excited that Emporia State decided to donate these materials,” she said. “We are grateful that Emporia State is helping Habitat for Humanity.”

History of the president’s home

The University House Task Force was commissioned in July 2015 at Emporia State in response to a growing need for a new residence for the university’s president.

John E. King, 11th President of Kansas State Teacher’s College, was the first to reside there. Five presidents lived in the home, and multiple additions and remodeling occurred over a span of 55 years.

After Emporia State’s 16th president stepped down in Spring 2015, the Emporia State University Foundation Board conducted a review of the president’s residence and determined it has multiple significant shortcomings including: lack of adequate segregation between public and private space, critical updates needed for home’s infrastructure and limited functionality.

The board agreed that either an extensive remodel was needed or new construction was necessary. Board Chair Kim Penner appointed a task force to further study the issue and to make a recommendation to the Board.

“We knew it was extremely important to have reasonable on-campus housing that would be comparable to our peer universities in the state of Kansas and beyond,” explained Skip Evans, Foundation Trustee and member of the University House Task Force. “The current concrete block home was built in 1960 without a basement and with small rooms, and was not adequate for today’s demands on college presidents. Building a new one was absolutely a must.”

Recruitment of the next Emporia State president was imminent. It was critical that the university be able to articulate an acceptable plan for his or her living situation. The Foundation sought KBOR approval to allow the incoming president to temporarily reside off-campus, and then purchased an off-campus home to temporarily house the 17th president until a suitable, permanent on-campus living arrangement becomes a reality. The new home will be built in the same location as the former home. Due to Kansas Board of Regent requirements, the university president must live on campus.

A look toward the future — University House

The term ‘university house’ addresses the fundraising expectations of a university president: serving as a facility to entertain constituents and to house overnight guests as well as serving as a residence for the university president.

The Emporia State University House will be two structures in one. The portion that houses the presidential family can be fully separated from the more public portion by closing a single door. Thus, constituents enjoy the intimacy of being in a home-like atmosphere with the university president, while the president and his/her family enjoy the ability to have privacy in their own living quarters.


The home will be 100 percent privately-funded with over 78 percent of the total project cost raised to date.

For more information on the University House project and a timeline, go to



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