Master plan gets public input

By Bryan Richardson

A couple weeks before revealing a final campus master plan, Kansas State University officials hosted an open forum on the subject that drew about 50 people Tuesday afternoon.

Ruth Dyer, senior vice provost for academic affairs and the chair of the Campus Master Plan Update Task Force, said the plan to improve the campus infrastructure is important since the university projects enrollment growth of about 10 to 12 percent over the next 10 to 12 years. The plan focuses on what is deemed the campus core, which is about 660 acres.

“This isn’t going to happen overnight, but this it does lay out a plan for us to think about,” Dyer said.

The university is working with Ayers Saint Gross, an architect and planning company, to update a master plan that was last updated in 2004.

Plans already in the works include construction of a new residence hall and dining center on the west side of campus that will open in the fall of 2015, as well as repurposing a dining center and renovating two residence halls by the fall of 2016.

Other projects include a new home for the College of Business Administration by fall 2016, an addition to the College of Engineering, and the renovation of Memorial Stadium to put the Purple Masque Theatre on the west side and the K-State Welcome Center on the east side.

Dyer said K-State’s space needs would be about 2 million gross square feet above the current capital plan projects with a 12 percent enrollment growth. She said all of this space can be found within the campus core.

More than half of the need is in academic and support space. Research space takes up most of the remainder as student life spaces are generally on par to accommodate the enrollment growth.

The campus is also aging, said Dyer, a fact that shows up in the list of structures requiring maintenance that has to date been deferred. She said 90 percent of the buildings are more than 25 years old, and 50 percent are more than 50 years old.

“If you look at the age of our buildings on campus compared to the age of the buildings on the other university campuses across the state, we have the oldest buildings in the state,” Dyer said.

Some of the buildings will be repurposed or removed, according to the plan. For instance, the English and Counseling Services building wouldn’t exist any more, and those people would be moved to another area.

Dyer also talked about the plan to make campus easier to walk, bike, park and more scenic.

Future plans would have the university eventually closing streets during the day in order to make the campus more pedestrian-friendly. Those closures would include most of Claflin Road between Denison and North Manhattan avenues, and Mid Campus Drive from Jardine Drive to Lovers Lane.

An open space plan would convert 28 acres of asphalt into 15 acres of new building sites and 13 acres of open space. The effort to make things more scenic also includes restoring Campus Creek.

Dyer said there’s also a proposal to utilize the existing parking resources more efficiently, a big one being use of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium parking lots. In order to make this a possibility, an on-campus shuttle system would need to be conducted.

ATA Bus director Anne Smith provided 2012 numbers for bus usage for students. She said the Jardine shuttle, which uses a bus-and-a-half to transport approximately 30 passengers, conducted 51,000 rides.

Smith said the majority of users of fixed routes, which includes a route through the campus, were K-State students. She said the service provided nearly 50,000 rides.

“Students are already our number one users,” she said. “We hope to see that continue to grow.”

Smith said conversations about whether bigger buses are needed would have to occur in the future. ATA Bus currently has 20-passenger buses.

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