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Unmanned and unprecedented: K-State Polytechnic

#WildcatWay
Division of Communications and Marketing
Kansas State University
128 Dole Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506

785-532-2535
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vpcm@k-state.edu

On Oct. 14, 2015, Kansas State University Salina officially became Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus. Just one week later, the campus was already making history.

Kansas State Polytechnic partnered with Westar Energy to develop one of the largest enclosed unmanned aircraft systems — or UAS — facilities in the nation. Officially opened on Oct. 21, 2015, the UAS Pavilion will advance UAS education, training and research.

"We are ready to take that tradition into the next 50 years," Fitzsimmons said. "Officially identifying ourselves as a polytechnic campus perfectly represents who we are and our students' experiences."

Kansas State Polytechnic remains focused on providing a professional learning environment built on theory, advanced research and industry application. One of the 17 undergraduate degrees offered is a bachelor's degree in UAS. Kansas State Polytechnic was the second university in the nation to offer this degree, which has doubled its enrollment each year since its inception in 2011.

"My love of building things, aviation and robotics really came together on this campus," said Trevor Witt, a junior in the UAS program and UAS Club president. "The new pavilion is a convenient place for students to learn to construct, fly and test unmanned aircraft."

The UAS Pavilion measures 300-feet-long by 200-feet wide, and uses custom fabricated netting panels on all sides and across the top. Since the structure is contained but not completely closed off to outdoor elements, the facility does not block GPS signals and allows flight missions to be conducted in various weather conditions.

Don't let the new name fool you. Kansas State Polytechnic is continuing the same primary goal it has maintained for 50 years — blazing trails.

That's the Wildcat Way.

This partnership fits perfectly with the campus's newly revitalized vision of the mission it has held for 50 years. Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of Kansas State Polytechnic, said the campus has always provided an educational environment that focuses on applied learning, professional programs and industry connections.