According to the publication Fifty Years Together, Fort Hays State University Memorial Union, 1958-2008: “A student union for the university was first discussed during the 1939 Homecoming. During World War II, the old Gymnasium-Women’s Building had been converted into a Social Building and served as the student center, but the need for a better facility was becoming evident.
With the end of the war, the Memorial Union began to inch toward reality in the spring of 1945 when, following approval by the Kansas Board of Regents, students began to pay a fee of $5 per semester into the student union building fund. It is important to point out that the new Memorial Union – with a final price tag of $851,600 – would ultimately be built at no cost to Kansas taxpayers.
With funding finally in place, students, faculty and staff watched with great interest as the Memorial Union evolved from a groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 12, 1957, to outward completion of the structure during the 1957-58 academic year.
The completed Memorial Union was dedicated on Oct. 18, 1958. Cody Commons, which had passed through various transformations, was remodeled and incorporated into the new Memorial Union as the food service center and went into use on Nov. 18, and the Reveille Ball opened the campus Christmas social season on Dec. 6 .”
Over the years, major renovations to the Memorial Union have taken place. Fifty Years Together states: “The annex to the Union was completed in spring 1970, providing a large recreation area in the basement. During the 1982-83 school year, major improvements were completed to expand the University Bookstore into the basement of the Memorial Union and to prepare the basement for the Student Health Center, which moved from Sheridan Coliseum. The Student Service Center was added to the Memorial Union during the 1988-89 school year.” And on August 20, 2007, “after 18 months of construction, a ribbon-cutting...marked completion of the $8.5 million renovation of the Memorial Union.”
Fort Hays State University Archives, "Fort Hays Kansas State College Memorial Union Scrapbooks, 1957-1967" (2016). Archives Finding Aids. 15.