Wichita State’s Innovation Campus
The Innovation campus is the result of strategic planning and WSU’s new mission statement: ”Wichita State will serve as an essential educational, cultural and economic driver for Kansas and the greater public good.” Wichita State hopes to better serve its student body, local businesses, the people of Wichita, and the people in the areas surrounding the campus.
President John Bardo said in August of 2014 while first outlining the university’s major expansion, “This is about how do we come together as a university to make things better for tomorrow, how do we effect health care, how do we effect the quality of education, how do we effect the amount of crime in our neighborhoods, how do we create opportunity for the people that we serve, to allow their children and grand children to have better lives than we had, as good as our lives have been”
To achieve these goals, Wichita State is expanding and improving its infrastructure to better suit the research, technology and collaboration needs of tomorrow.
Based off current blueprints and renderings, this initiative could produce over a dozen new buildings on the campus. The end goal of this transformation is to make Wichita State University a place where one can learn, work, live and play.
The completion of the Innovation Campus expansion will see renovations and/or replacements of several current University buildings, however the majority of the construction will be seen to the east of the current campus, on top of the now former Breaburn Golf Course.
Construction of the Innovation Campus began in early 2015. President Bardo has previously stated the speed at which these buildings will take shape is dependent on funding availability, as well as interest from private enterprises. The outside interest from private firms is key, as the nine partnership buildings are all intended to be developed and funded by private firms.
Key companies already involved:
Airbus: This was the first company to put its name on a partnership building. Airbus will move from its current location in downtown Wichita, bringing with it around 400 employees to campus , as well as new opportunities for applied learning in aerospace engineering. A significant portion of this new building is to be completed in 2016.
Koch: a Koch collaborative, GoCreate, has chosen to call WSU's new Experiential Engineering building home once construction is completed. The goal is for GoCreate to serve as a workspace where innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship can all mix and be guided through access to training and equipment.
Buildings to be constructed:
- Nine partnership buildings: these will be home to local businesses that will partner with WSU students by offering paid internships within their firms.
- Two mixed-used complexes: these will feature residences for students along the upper floors, with restaurants and shops along the ground level.
- Two hotels: located at the northeast corner of 21st and Oliver, two hotels are planned to accommodate the growing number of visitors to the campus.
- A new residence Hall: centrally-located, a new residence hall will give more students the opportunity to live on campus.
- Parking garage: at least one parking garage is currently underway, as WSU seeks approval from the Kansas Board of Regents. This will take shape south of the Rhatigan Student Center.
- A Student-Community Center: Intended to be a place of innovation and discovery, the Student-Community Center will be open to WSU students as well as the general public. The building will be accessible 24/7 to students in the adjacent living quarters which will be connected via a skybridge.