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K-State Today

December 14, 2022

Student design project unveiled: Flint Hills ATA Westloop bus shelter

Submitted by Thom Jackson

ATA Shelter

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, the new Flint Hills Area Transportation Agency, or Flint Hills ATA, bus shelter was unveiled in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The shelter is in the Westloop Shopping Center on the west side of Manhattan along ATA Bus Routes 1 and 3.

Construction of the shelter was recently completed by BHS Construction and designed by College of Architecture, Planning and Design, or APDesign, students at Kansas State University in partnership with Walter P. Moore structural engineering, Olsson engineering firm, Westloop Business Association, Brixmor Property Group, the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Flint Hills ATA and its board members.

"For over 10 years now we have been working to build a vital public transportation network in Manhattan and in that time our partnership with K-State has been an important component in our success," said Anne Smith, executive director of the Flint Hills ATA. "When we began planning for bus stop improvements several years ago, we knew that we wanted to partner with K-State on the design of a bus shelter that reflects the unique qualities of the place we all call home. Working with the students and faculty at APDesign was a great experience. The students brought their talents, energy, and enthusiasm to the project and designed a functional and aesthetically pleasing structure that contextually reflects the Flint Hills region. My thanks to all of the students, faculty and staff that helped us bring this project to fruition."

In 2017, the interior architecture and industrial design department in the College of Architecture, Planning and Design at Kansas State University was sponsored to conceive of a family of outdoor furniture products, from which the bus shelter design was selected to be used at transit stops. Assistant Professor Steve Davidson, now emeritus faculty, led the effort to complete the original drawings, models and prototype along with master's students Natalie Healey '18, Jevin Yoder '18 and Sunny Zijun Zhao '18, who used this project as their culminating work. Master's student Julian Lee '19, then developed the fabrication drawings with consultation from Walter P. Moore, a Kansas City engineering firm that provided structural engineering drawings and calculations.

Not only was the design intended to be artful by reflecting the beauty of the Flint Hills through its sweeping roof, but it needed to be durable and functional. The two-post construction allowed for the benches and roof to float above the sidewalk for a minimum, streamlined appearance while maximizing the graceful curve of the roof above. The design also creates an elegant solution for wheelchair-accessible areas under the awning, protecting patrons from the elements while waiting for transit.

"We are proud of our students' bus shelter design," said Nathan Howe, department head of interior architecture and industrial design. "The students' solution represents how transformative design can be in orchestrating context, human needs, and aesthetic delight. We were fortunate to have such a great partner in the Flint Hills ATA that had the tenacity to bring the bus shelter to the finish line."

"We have waited a long time for bus shelters here in Manhattan!" said Stephanie Peterson, director of community development for Manhattan. "These permanent fixtures will serve as a continuous reminder of the incredible partnership we have between the university and the community. As an alumna of the College of Architecture, Planning and Design, it was a privilege to work with a talented group of students who took an idea and turned it into reality."

According to the Flint Hills ATA Bus Facebook page, more bus shelters are either currently being built or are in the planning phase. Further information about the bus shelter and its unveiling can be found on the K-State IAID Instagram page, as well as the Flint Hills ATA Bus Facebook page.