A task force working to help Kansas City stay competitive in a new economy has recognized K-State's contributions to the region, including the K-State Olathe campus.
On Nov. 12, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation released a five-year progress report on its Time to Get It Right plan. In 2005, it led several of the city's other foundations in commissioning the Blue Ribbon Task Force and charging it with developing a strategy to capture Kansas City's "great promise" through a major investment in higher education.
The task force noted that the Olathe campus not only will increase K-State's presence in the metropolitan area, but that it also will bring forth programs and resources that can strengthen the region's education and research capacity.
"This project is exciting to us for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is a reflection of future educational opportunities and community partnerships that are at the core of the mission of the campus," said Dan Richardson, the chief executive officer of K-State Olathe. "Through the global research, educational resources and strengths of K-State -- and the partnership with the Kansas Bioscience Authority to drive technology to commercialization -- we will see a return on investment we can all be proud to have been a part of at the very beginning."
Initially, the campus will focus on commercially viable applied research and technology discovery in animal health and in food safety and security. The campus's first building is the National Institute for Animal Health and Food Safety, which broke ground Nov. 12. The $28 million facility will house educational and lab spaces to support research, education and technology commercialization in animal health and food safety.
"I'm proud to see that so many of the great things K-State is doing for Kansas are being recognized for their value to the greater Kansas City area," said K-State President Kirk Schulz.
"K-State Olathe is certainly central to our engagement with the metropolitan area as a link to K-State's many resources. But I'm also glad to see that the task force recognizes the other things we have to offer the area, including our outstanding graduate programs and the major federal research laboratories that K-State is bringing to the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor."
The report notes K-State's success in landing two major federal laboratories, the National Agro and Bio-Defense Facility and the Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Laboratory. The report touts these facilities' ability to bring economic development and translational research opportunities to the region.
"We're pleased that the task force has recognized the impact that federal research labs like NBAF and the Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Laboratory will have on the Kansas City metropolitan area," said Ron Trewyn, K-State's vice president for research. "More than just benefiting K-State, these laboratories and the private industries they can draw are a boon to the entire Kansas City Animal Health Corridor and can help greater Kansas City reach the goals set out in Time to Get It Right."
The report also notes how K-State's strengths in agriculture and engineering can compliment the capacity of the region's other research universities to meet Kansas City's needs for advanced education and research.
"We are looking forward to providing the Kansas City region with graduate courses and programs that utilize and expand upon K-State's traditional strengths in a number of disciplines and in particular in the animal health and food safety and security areas," said Ruth Dyer, K-State's interim provost. "We also will be working with individuals in Johnson County to identify additional programmatic needs that align with our areas of expertise."
Photos: (from top to bottom) The latest rendering of the National Institute for Animal Health and Food Safety, the Olathe campus's first building; officials turn dirt during groundbreaking ceremonies Nov. 12.