Alumni Association Breaks Ground on New Merket Center Addition

The 10,694 square foot building should be complete in spring 2010.

Texas Tech Alumni Association (TTAA) broke ground May 12 on the Peggy and Bill Dean Expansion to Merket Alumni Center. Scheduled to be completed in spring 2010, the expansion project will nearly double the present Merket Alumni Center by adding 10,694 square feet. A new, second entrance into the facility will open into the Peggy and Bill Dean Grand Reception Hall. Three new banquet/meeting rooms will be constructed on the west end of the building. TTAA President Barbara McKenzie applauds the early support for the project. “Despite the current economic conditions, many individuals, businesses and foundations have already pledged their support to make this much-needed expansion possible,” she said. “Confident that we are on track to raise the rest of our goal, our national board has elected to begin construction now.” Campaign fundraising chairperson Nelda Laney announced that the Building on Tradition capital drive that began last October has raised $2,357,110 to date toward the $4 million project budget. McKenzie and her husband, Mickey, of Sulphur Springs have provided the largest single gift. The new ballroom, which seats up to 600, will be named in their honor. Other features in the addition include a new serving kitchen with storage; a new circulation, staging and planning office; a bride’s room and new restrooms. The existing kitchen will be remodeled into an office suite for the association’s marketing department. Two memorial groves will be planted on the grounds, and a second courtyard will be built to the east, featuring an outdoor gazebo. Joe D. McKay of JDMA, Inc. is the architect for the project, Lee Lewis Construction, Inc. has been named general contractor, and Ogallala Construction Management will serve as project manager. First built in 1995 as an addition to the original President’s Home, Merket Alumni Center now hosts more than 800 events annually and is in high demand for weddings and receptions year round. Several naming opportunities remain available for donors to the project, as well as brick pavers, bronze markers, marble pavers and granite benches for varying giving levels. Complete details about the project are available at, or by contacting Jim Douglass at or (806) 742-3641 or Renée Underwood, Texas Tech Alumni Association National Board member and marketing chairman for Building on Tradition Capital Campaign at or (806) 928-0463.