KBOR Approves WSU Master Plan to Demolish, Add Buildings on Campus (2024)

A newly approved master plan for Wichita State University will see the 128-year-old, 330 acre campus undergo major changes. While tentative and likely to change, dozens of buildings are currently expected to undergo renovations or consolidations, with several buildings slated to be demolished or built.

The Kansas Board of Regents requires the universities it governs to present a master plan every 10 years to encourage them to grow and adapt to the needs of students, faculty and staff. Emily Patterson, the executive director of facilities planning, assisted with constructing the master plan in 2014 and presented the approved 2024-2034 plan to the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) Thursday afternoon.

The university involved more than 900 people in designing the master plan, including members of the community. They developed main principles that drove the plan

  • A focus on their teaching buildings. These are the buildings that are most used and in the most need of repair.
  • Quality laboratory spaces. The found themselves lacking in these spaces so they will build more and renovate others.
  • Bring colleges back together. Over time colleges classes and staff have become spread out across buildings WSU colleges are: Liberal Arts and Science, Innovation and Design, Health Professions, Fine Arts, Engineering, Applied Sciences and Business.
  • Add gathering spaces Older building lack space for students to gather outside of offices and classrooms
  • Reduce office space For the size of the campus they found there was too much office space.

The design divides the campus into five different sections, each with its own unique qualities and intended functions.

  • KBOR Approves WSU Master Plan to Demolish, Add Buildings on Campus (1)
  • KBOR Approves WSU Master Plan to Demolish, Add Buildings on Campus (2)
  • KBOR Approves WSU Master Plan to Demolish, Add Buildings on Campus (3)

‘Academic Core’: Center of campus

The “Academic Core” includes facilities near the heart of campus, including the Rhatigan Student Center, Ablah Library, the Heskett Center and campus housing. This area houses recreational facilities, as well as classrooms and offices for liberal arts and sciences programs. Of all the sections, the academic core will undergo the most construction.

Buildings Suggested for Demolition in the Academic Core:

Hubbard Hall

Heskett Center

Wichita State Police Department

Wichita State Connect

Grace Wilkie Hall

Neff Hall

Parking Services Building

Gaddis Physical Plant Complex

Central Receiving and Warehouse

Buildings to be Constructed in the Academic Core:

Interdisciplinary Academic Building

A recreation center

A community building

Partnership building

Two academic research buildings

Physical Plant Complex

A parking garage to be built on the northern half of preexisting Lot 5

Buildings to Undergo Substantial Renovations in the Academic Core:

Jabara Hall

Lindquist Hall

Ablah Library

Media Resource Center

Consolidating space will yield more room for recreational and hangout spaces on campus, especially within this core. Patterson said it will also make the campus more accessible by enhancing pedestrian and car traffic paths.

HISTORIC DISTRICT’: WEST END OF CAMPUS

The established “historic district” of campus includes Fiske Hall, the oldest building on campus, as well as the Duerksen Fine Arts Center and Wilner Auditorium.

Buildings Suggested for Demolition in the Historic District:

Wilner Auditorium

Buildings to be Constructed in the Historic District:

Academic art hall

Buildings to Undergo Substantial Renovations in the Historic District:

Henrion Hall

McKnight Art Center

McKinley Hall

University President Richard Muma said that while Wilner has “a lot of deep-seated memories for people,” the cost of repairing historic buildings like Wilner Auditorium and Hubbard Hall would exceed the cost of building new, more useful facilities.

‘ATHLETIC DISTRICT’: STADIUMS, TRAINING FACILITIES AND ALL THINGS ATHLETICS

The athletic district comprises the north and northwestern portions of campus and houses the playing fields and training facilities for Shocker basketball, baseball and softball teams. As a result, no sports-related facilities are slated for demolition, but several are scheduled to be built or expanded.

Buildings Suggested for Demolition in the Athletic District:

Child Development Center

Buildings to be Constructed in the Athletic District:

Indoor track facility or tennis facility

University Stadium (for those who haven’t been paying attention the old stadium has been demolished.)

A building addition to Koch Arena

An upgraded portion of Wilkins Stadium

INNOVATION CAMPUS: CREATING AN “ENGINE FOR INNOVATION”

An area of relatively new buildings, the innovation campus will subsequently not see any buildings demolished.

Buildings to be Constructed in Innovation Campus:

A parking garage to be built on preexisting parking lot spaces

Several partnership buildings

A mixed-use and assembly building

17TH STREET GATEWAY: SOUTH OF CAMPUS

New initiatives on the south part of campus will see the addition of a new university housing complex as well as modifications made in collaboration with the city of Wichita to enhance Fairmount Park.

Buildings Suggested for Demolition in the 17th Street Gateway District:

Brennan Hall I

Brennan Hall II

Brennan Hall III

Sheldon Coleman Tennis Complex

Buildings to be Constructed in the 17th Street Gateway District:

University Village, which could include several businesses

Five Partnership and mixed-use buildings

A community center in Fairmount Park

Child Development Center

Area to Undergo Substantial Renovations in the 17th Street Gateway District:

Fairmount Park

Gensler, a San Francisco-based architectural company, has been hired by Wichita State to implement the plan. Patterson and Muma did not provide an estimate as to how much fulfilling the master plan would cost, but Muma said that building additions to the Innovation Campus could be developed privately.

In a virtual plan update in March, Patterson said the university hopes to receive $5.5 to $6 million in educational building fund money from the state Legislature, which would go toward deferred maintenance.

During the same meeting, Provost Shirley Lefever said that “revisions will be made” to the plan as it is executed, and Patterson reiterated during the KBOR meeting that much is subject to change. And while it is not clear when these alterations to campus will begin, Brennan Hall I, II, and III and Neff Hall have already been approved for demolition, and progress continues to be made on the Cessna Stadium renovations, which are anticipated to be complete by 2026.

The complete master plan presentation can be viewed from the KBOR YouTube. At about 3:40

This article was reported by The Sunflower, the Wichita State University newspaper, as part of the Wichita Journalism Collaborative (WJC). The WJC is a partnership of 11 media and community partners, including The Voice.

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KBOR Approves WSU Master Plan to Demolish, Add Buildings on Campus (2024)

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