K-State engineering students look forward to the end of construction

Phase IV of the College of Engineering expansion continues across from Ahern Fieldhouse at the corner of College Heights and Denison. The renovation is expected to cost a total of $40 million and add 107,00 square feet to the existing complex. (Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian)

The K-State College of Engineering expansion has been under construction for almost a year. Last October the renovation broke ground, expecting to add 107,000 square feet to the Engineering Complex with costs totaling $40 million. Currently, the project is in Phase IV of construction which includes a new facility across from Ahern Fieldhouse at the corner of College Heights Road and Denison Avenue.

Students shared their opinions on the current construction, finished renovations and the projects goals.

“At least twice so far we’ve had classes to the sound of jackhammers,” Lauren Sweno, senior in architectural engineering, said.

Both Sweno and Rachael Kolb, junior in electrical engineering, found the construction to be “frustrating.”

“Last semester they decided to do some construction during finals and that was frustrating,” Kolb said. “There was one gas leak scare and that was when I had a test, so we had to evacuate the building right before a test and that was frustrating.”

The current renovations even caused Jordan Crook, senior in architectural engineering, to change his living arrangements.

“I moved specifically because they did the renovations,” Crook said. “I moved across campus, that way I don’t have to walk through Fiedler.”

The University Engineering Initiative Act’s goal is to increase engineering graduates by 50 percent in the state of Kansas in a 10-year period.

According to the College of Engineering’s website, “the new facility will help recruit and retain high-quality students while establishing nationally recognized research programs and strengthening corporate partnerships.”

“I don’t think they’ll reach their goal of expanding 50 percent but they will expand quite a bit,” Crook said. “As long as they get the new dorms done around the same time as the new parts of Fiedler, because they kind of coincide with each other. You can’t have more students if there is no living (space).”

Wefald Hall is expected to be open for the fall semester in August 2016, according to the K-State website.

Some engineering students said they were skeptical of the college’s goals but believe that it can be done.

“I think it’s a combination of things,” Reggeany Barrios, senior in chemical engineering, said. “Having a bigger facility would definitely help accomplish that but they are also improving the programs, they are working on the curriculums, they are working on the 2015 project and so I think that it will definitely be more appealing for people as the project continues.”

Overall, students said they are “excited” for the arrival of their new building and for the construction to finally be over.

“I’m excited for it but it’s been frustrating because it cuts our building in half,” Kolb said. “You have to go outside to go into the next building and that’s kind of frustrating, especially because I’m in engineering ambassadors, so when we’re showing people around the building it makes it kind of difficult.”

The expansion project is expected to be completed by August 2015, according to the College of Engineering’s website.

“Of what they have done in the past, I think the renovations have been really good,” Crook said. “Of the new stuff, I won’t be here when it gets done, but I am really excited for what it will look like and I’ll definitely come back to look at it.”