Letters to campus

June 2011

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Greetings again from Anderson Hall! I hope that all of you are having a productive summer, and that you can find the opportunity to spend some relaxing time with family and friends.

As we continue to work towards a formalized launch of K-State 2025 and our initiatives to become a Top 50 public research university, we have had significant dialog with the campus community. One of the items which comes up frequently is campus infrastructure and deferred maintenance issues.

Over the past two years, we have made some significant progress on a variety of infrastructure issues on campus. Some of these projects are relatively small, and some much more substantive - but in my mind it is like trying to eat an elephant - you have to do it one bite at a time!

I asked Bruce Shubert, vice president for administration and finance, and Ken Stafford, chief information officer and vice provost for information technology, to share with me some highlights of infrastructure progress that we have made in the past 24 months. The good news is that the lists are both long -- much too long for a monthly letter. So I have taken a few key items to share which illustrate the progress we are making on improving the spaces we work in on campus.

We continue to upgrade our wireless computing infrastructure, with a short-term goal of seamless wireless connectivity anywhere on campus. Recently, wireless network upgrades and additions have been completed in Waters Hall, Ahearn Fieldhouse, Call Hall, Fairchild Hall, Eisenhower Hall, The Student Union, and Kedzie Hall. These upgrades bring us to 1545 wireless access points on campus, which represents 232 new access points added in the last 12 months.

While wireless connectivity is important, several of our historic buildings have needed wiring upgrades. To date, wiring upgrades have taken place in Fairchild Hall, Eisenhower Hall, and Hale Library. Cardwell Hall has needed substantive wiring upgrades for sometime, and is due to be rewired later this year.

Many of you use new technology when teaching classes, and it is important that our classroom spaces are designed to help you use technology in a seamless fashion. This summer, Umberger 105 is undergoing extensive renovation, and will have the latest in instructional technology tools. Additionally, we are planning to add additional instructional technology tools to 50 additional classrooms over the next 2 years.

In addition to technology and computing infrastructure upgrades, we have also made significant progress in updates to our buildings. Funding for much of this has come from energy savings, federal stimulus funds, and state of Kansas deferred maintenance funds.

It has been hard to miss the roofers on campus, and roofs have been replaced or are in the process of being replaced for Calvin Hall, Seaton Hall, Weber Hall, Veterinary Medicine, Waters Hall, Call Hall, Hale Library, the Beach Museum, academic portions of Ahearn, McCain Hall, the Dairy Barn, Cardwell Hall, and portions of Meyers Hall. The limestone on our buildings is a key signature of our campus, and several buildings have had repairs made to the stone work and building exterior including Nichols Hall, the Engineering Complex, and Meyers Hall.

If you have walked around on campus over the last several months, most of our campus streets, sidewalks, and curbs have also been updated. While not nearly as visible, the campus electrical distribution system has been completely upgraded to a 12.5 kVA loop system. Additionally, we updated the steam distribution system to include the replacement of one of our main campus steam lines.

We continue to put in infrastructure which will help Kansas State to become more energy efficient. This includes a state-of-the-art utility control system, replacement of exterior lights with more energy efficient lighting solutions, upgrades to our central chiller system, and optimization of steam generation capabilities. Once again, these items are not immediately apparent when walking or driving through campus, but will result in increased savings over the next several years.

In addition to projects which are focused on our current buildings, we also have several new construction projects underway. While I know that construction projects can be disruptive to campus traffic flow, I feel that they lend a sense of vibrancy to a campus. Present projects include the addition of a new wing on Justin Hall, the Basketball training facility adjacent to Bramlage, new restroom facilities in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, the new Sheep and Goat facility, and expansion of the Peters Recreation Center. New off-campus projects include a new Southeast Kansas Extension and Research facility and the K-State Olathe campus. Projects which should start-up this fall include a new feed mill research and teaching facility in the Grain Science Complex, a new Purple Masque theater in East Memorial Stadium, and initiation of the next renovation phase of the Jardine Student Complex. Funding for these new construction projects comes through privately raised funds, student supported bond funds, and NBAF relocation funds.

Do we still have many infrastructure needs on our campus? Absolutely. However, to use my earlier analogy, we are taking some large bites out of our elephant. I appreciate the hard work our staff do in facilities and IT to help make our campus a better place to teach and perform research. Next time you see one of these members of the K-State family - take a minute and thank them for their hard work.

Go Cats!

Kirk