Facility renovations provide new locations for long standing programs

The new 2-D art studio in Laban Peachey Center

Laban Peachey Center on the Hesston College campus underwent a series of renovations in order to serve the evolving needs of the institution. Beginning in October of 2023, the college contracted with Vogt’s Construction to renovate the building to accommodate several departments on campus including the visual arts and aviation programs.

Hesston’s visual arts department was in need of a new home after the Friesen Center, named for program founder Paul Friesen, was repurposed to serve the budding School of Engineering in 2022.

“It was the best way we could maximize the space we have on campus,” explains Art Professor Joshua Cross. “Friesen was the best fit for the needs of the new engineering program in terms of classrooms, office space, labs and the like without scattering the entire program across campus.”

The renovated space in Laban Peachey Center includes two classrooms, one for 2-D creation and lecture and the other for 3-D creation, the relocated Regier-Friesen Gallery and an outdoor patio. The patio will primarily serve as an event space, but Cross has a vision to erect a sculpture garden around this space to honor Friesen’s love of sculpting.

“The layout of our new space is much more open and flows better between classrooms,” says Cross. “Tools and equipment can easily be shared between the studios and the open concept will promote more collaboration between the 2-D and 3-D spaces.”

Jamie Krehbiel, a freshman art major, spends a great deal of time in the new space and affirms Cross’s claims.

“The new space in Peachey is very nice,” says Krehbiel. “I specifically enjoy the amount of natural light that comes through the garage door windows.”

The new aviation classroom in Laban Peachey Center
The new aviation classroom in Laban Peachey Center
Laban Peachey Center now also houses a classroom for the School of Aviation. This will serve as the primary classroom for the aviation program and gives the program a presence on campus.

“Our new classroom enables the School of Aviation to focus on developing and promoting a learning environment that facilitates a growth trajectory consistent with our program initiatives,” says Director of the School of Aviation Mike Baker.

With these renovations, the program is able to consolidate all of its ancillary activities, including their FAA knowledge testing center, in one location. The space will also be used for study groups and preparing for participation in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association competition.

In addition, the aviation classroom will soon incorporate aircraft fleet-specific static and procedural trainers for continued student development.

“The new classroom will allow the program to expand their fleet of flight training devices to cater to all students, from freshmen to seniors,” says Baker.

The renovations were made possible by a generous anonymous donation. Acting Vice President of Advancement Lisa Longacher reflects on the humility and generosity of Hesston College donors.

“Our supporters have a huge heart for helping the Hesston College community and want us to use their donations however they will help us best,” says Longacher.

In addition to the art and aviation classrooms, the renovations to Laban Peachey Center include a storage space for performing arts and a golf simulator purchased for the Hesston College golf team by another one of Hesston’s supportive donors. These renovations will be celebrated during this year’s Homecoming festivities.