Wayland celebrates renovations to Hutcherson Center with dedication ceremony

Wayland Baptist University's Plainview campus celebrated the newest facility on campus to undergo a facelift with a dedication ceremony outside the Hutcherson Physical Education Center.

Hutcherson Center received the same portico and columned exterior that have been added to Harral Memorial Auditorium and the Van Howeling Education Complex. The renovations are part of a master plan to improve and unify the campus look. The facility's two concession stands were also renovated to create more room and a more efficient service area.

During the dedication ceremony, several Wayland officials spoke about the contributions of those who made the facility and its renovation possible, as well as those who call Hutcherson Center home on a daily basis.

"For 30 years, the Hutcherson gymnasium has been a place for young men and women to grow through athletic competition and exercise," said Dr. Paul Armes, Plainview president, in opening remarks following a hymn and song by the musical recruiting ensemble Rejoice.

"The athletes say thank you to all who had a part in this renovation," added Dr. Greg Feris, athletic director at Wayland and chair of the Division of Physical Education and Recreation. "Hutcherson Center has a rich and proud heritage. We look forward to many more years of service to our students, our city and the West Texas region."

Dr. Russ Gibbs, vice president for institutional advancement, thanked those who had supported the project monetarily, including David and Myrt Wilder, who headed the Plainview 2000 campaign which raised $1,000,000 toward campus beautification and renovation projects. He also credited the families of Claude Hutcherson and former coach Harley Redin, saying, "This building exists because of their vision and dream."

Gibbs also led the crowd in a round of applause for an anonymous donor who contributed $200,000 toward the project.

After congratulations from Plainview Mayor Lloyd Woods, Wayland chancellor Dr. Wallace Davis encouraged the student athletes who gathered for the dedication.

"The credit for this goes to our student athletes who have worked so hard over the years. The athletic programs on this campus have added so much to us," Davis said. "The façade of this building is only a reflection of the beauty and the dignity that goes on inside. You are good representatives of Wayland, and people know us because they know you."

Feris, Davis and Armes joined Harley and Wilda Redin in an official ribbon-cutting before a reception for guests was held inside the facility.

Originally built in 1971, Hutcherson Center was named for Claude Hutcherson, who owned a flying service in Plainview and had sponsored the Flying Queens women's basketball team for decades by shuttling them via air to games.

"The Hutch," as it is known among the Wayland family, is home to the Lady Pioneers volleyball team and the Pioneer and Flying Queen basketball teams. It also features a training room, athletics offices and locker rooms, a hospitality room and classrooms. Annual events such as the Plainview Queens Classic and the Lions Pioneer Classic basketball tournaments and the Coca-Cola Classic Volleyball tournament are held in Hutcherson Center, as well as regional high school basketball playoff games, graduations and other special events.