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K-State Today

June 15, 2023

From the vice president for administration and finance: updates on building demolitions, timelines

Submitted by Ethan Erickson

Dear K-State Community,

As we set the foundation for K-State to become a next-generation land-grant university, optimizing our physical footprint is a critical piece of that puzzle. Last September, I shared our plans for addressing our deferred maintenance backlog through a series of planned building demolitions, and I want to take the opportunity to update you on the status of these projects. But first, as a follow-up to the Kansas Board of Regents June meeting consent agenda, I want to take the opportunity to share a little more context about the university’s future plans to advance the Ag Innovation Initiative through an additional demolition project.

On May 15, the university broke ground for the future home of the Agronomy Research and Innovation Center, a critical piece of the first phase of the Ag Innovation Initiative. Two additional pieces are the future construction of the Animal Science Arena, which will create a modern home for the rodeo, Cattleman’s Day and other large-scale livestock events, as well as the future Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation, an innovative interdisciplinary facility that will in part replace the physical footprint currently held by Weber Arena and Weber 123. As such, with the Regents’ approval yesterday, we will be scheduling demolitions for portions of Weber Hall in order to advance the institution’s vision for these future spaces. The demolition of Weber Arena will be scheduled to begin after the conclusion of 2024 Cattleman’s Day in March 2024. The demolition of Weber 123 will be slated to begin in spring 2025.

The Division of Facilities and College of Agriculture teams are already working together on this timeline and building solutions to minimize disruption of events and programming held within the arena. Efforts will be made to relocate events and/or provide tenting during the time between the demolition and the opening of the Animal Science Arena.

Furthermore, the teams are working together to ensure continuity in academic experience for the classes held in Weber 123. Alternative auditorium spaces on campus will be identified for use as required, but we will also work to minimize the time period between demolition and construction of the new facility, which is anticipated to house comparably sized classroom space.

As with our other demolition projects, every effort will also be made to preserve the history held within the original spaces. Casey Lauer, associate vice president for physical infrastructure, and his team have been hard at work in collaboration with many university groups, including University Archives, to coordinate the appropriate archival of blueprints, photos and more to ensure the story of these spaces can be accurately told for years to come. I want to thank everyone who has been involved in these archival efforts — it’s important to us all that we honor our past as we shape our future.

And that brings us back to the demolition projects that we’ve already been working toward since last fall’s announcement. The Edwards Hall demolition is slated for completion this fall. The natatorium and gymnasium demolitions will commence in late fall 2023, with site restoration spanning into the spring/summer of 2024. Space planning continues with departments housed in the Unger Complex, with relocations slated to begin in summer 2024.

Part of being a next-generation land-grant university is embracing change and innovation — but doing so in a way that honors our roots and serves our mission at its core. Our ability to maximize teaching, research and engagement in modern spaces will allow us to do just that. Thank you for your continued support for the vision of the future of K-State.

Ethan Erickson
Vice President for Administration and Finance