The main focus of last night’s City Commission meeting was the various renovation, research and service projects currently happening or planned for K-State.
Mayor John Matta opened the meeting by declaring Nov. 30 Small Business Saturday. Small business owners encouraged Manhattan residents to “Think Local First” when doing their shopping.
Matta also declared Dec. 1-7 to be Manhattan HIV/AIDS Awareness Week, in coordination with the World HIV/AIDS Awareness Week, which is themed “Getting To Zero.” The theme is a reference to striving to eliminate spread, infections and deaths as a result of HIV/AIDS.
Several events will help to raise awareness on K-State’s campus through the week. The Purple Masque Theatre will put on a production of “Sex Ed: What Wasn’t Covered.” There will also be free HIV/AIDS testing in the K-State Student Union on Thursday morning from 10-12. At 7 p.m. on Thursday, there will be a memorial in the Amphitheater of the Leadership Studies Building. Friday, Jane Ward, associate professor of women’s studies from the University of California-Riverside, will speak about masculinity and homosexual sex.
After the approval of the Consent Agenda, K-State President Kirk Schulz presented an update over additions being made to the northeast portion of K-State’s campus, referred to as Research Corridor, as well as potential updates and additions to the main portion of campus.
“Our main goal is adding value to K-State students’ degrees,” Shulz said. “We’re dedicated to becoming a top 50 research university, and some of these additions, as well as working in coordination with NBAF [National Bio and Agro-defense Facility] and KSDA [Kansas Department of Agriculture] will be vital to that.”
Last year, K-State faculty garnered $151 million in grants for research. Schulz stressed the importance of furthering research to feed the world and that K-State, as a land-grant university in close proximity to KSDA and NBAF, is in a prime position to make great steps in research and innovation.
According to Schulz, 90 percent of K-State’s buildings are more than 25 years old. Updates to the Purple Masque Theatre, Seaton Hall and the K-State Student Union are all on the to-do list, as well as new buildings for the College of Business Administration and the College of Engineering.
“We want to keep those green areas,” Schulz said. “Even when we’re adding buildings, we want to keep those.”
Officials are also considering closing Mid-Campus Drive during school hours to allow easier foot traffic for students and developing a bussing system.
“We have wonderful town-to-gown relationships — the best of any place I’ve worked, and I’ve worked in four or five university-based communities,” Schulz said.
Commissioners also discussed and approved an addition to Manhattan Public Library to create a space specifically for children. The expansion is estimated at $1.49 million.
“I think it’s great to have this kind of thing for families, especially when you’re promoting the quality of life in Manhattan,” Commissioner Karen McCulloh, said.