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K-State unveils plans for new Vanier Complex

By Joel Jellison

In the past two years, Kansas State has spent more than $125 million in athletic facility improvements.

Now, K-State is ready to take its next step.

Prior to Saturday’s spring game, KSU athletic director John Currie announced the beginning of the third phase of the six-step master plan for Bill Snyder Family Stadium, a campaign to fund changes to the Vanier Football Complex and the north endzone.

“This is a day that’s been a long time coming,” Curris said. “(It’s) a huge step forward for us, and also represents another sign of Kansas State athletics’ commitment to be among the top echelon of intercollegiate athletics.”

The new Vanier complex will serve as the home of the football complex, as well as hosting a new, larger Academic Learning Center. The facility will go from its current two-story state, to a four-story building that will house an 18,000-square-foot Strength and Conditioning Center, a nutrition center, sports medicine and recovery facility and recovery and physical therapy spaces.

The football program will have the benefit of a new 140-seat team theater, position meeting rooms, new coaches offices that overlook the field and a new locker room more than twice the size of the current space.

“It’s focused on two critical things,” Currie said, “No. 1, it’s our student athlete experience, and the experience of all student athletes at K-State, and then it’s that grass roots tradition that Kansas State has.”

At an estimated cost of $65 million, the project was kick started by a $20 million gift from the Vanier family, and Currie said they currently have 75 percent of the $50 million target funds needed. The project will not draw from tax or university funds, and the remaining $15 million will draw from department revenues.

“Originally, we had this phase looking like it was a long ways away,” Currie said. “As we got the (West Stadium Center) done we started asking that question, what’s next? We felt like we could move forward.”

The project will have a shorter construction period than the West Stadium Center did, and it will only be partially completed before the 2015-16 football season. But it will be functional by the start of that season.

During the time of construction, extra spaces in the Basketball Training Facility and West Stadium Facility will be utilized as temporary replacements for the football program and the Academic Learning Center. Bramlage Coliseum will be used as a strength and conditioning area following the basketball season.

“It will be a logistical challenge, and that’s one of the reasons we worked hard to compress this construction schedule into one offseason,” Currie said. “The groundbreaking ceremony will be prior to the KU game, right after Thanksgiving. The next week when the equipment truck leaves, the movers will descend, and then we’ll knock the building down shortly thereafter, and then be back in it in August.”

The facility will draw inspiration from other athletic facilities, including the Basketball Training Facility, and Kansas materials. The athletic department also took inspiration for the project from other facilities.

“We’ve been in every building in the Big 12 in the last five years, and then we’ve been around the country in a lot of different buildings,” Currie said. “We tried to take things that we saw that we liked, and cobble together the best of all to make our building a building that reflects who we are — its going to be extremely functional and stand the test of time.”

The north end zone will see enhanced sightlines and new ADA seating. A walkway will connect the west and east sides of the stadium, giving the stadium concourses 360-degree connectability. Currie said fans will still be able to maintain closeness and visibility with the team as they enter and exit the field through the tunnel.

The project includes the potential to expand seating capacity by 1,000, and will include two new video boards in both the northeast and northwest corners. Those video boards will eventually serve to replace the current stat boards in the southeast and southwest corners.

By August 2015, K-State plans to have the north and northwest parts of the project complete, while the remaining northeast area and video board will be completed in a succeeding year.

The project will be designed by Populous with construction management being handled by Mortenson & GE Johnson Construction.

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