Airport expansions expands K-State’s recruitment opportunities

The Manhattan Regional Airport is in its Phase One construction of the passenger terminal expansion project on Sept. 30 2014. (Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

With $15.8 million in expansions coming to the Manhattan Regional Airport, K-State faculty and students can expect to see an influx of out-of-state and international students.

“We have quietly increased our out-of-state recruiting efforts as a direct result of increased air flights into Manhattan” Pat Bosco, vice president of student life and dean of students, said. “Additional flights, especially jet service daily from Dallas and Chicago, makes a tremendous difference on our ability to attract students and faculty.”

Shane Wright, assistant director for Manhattan Regional Airport, said the expansion will not immediately add any new destinations for those flying out of it, However, it will create the potential for them to be added in the future. The decision on what destinations to add is made by the airlines, not by the airport.

“The airport expansion has the potential to increase the travel options for our students, faculty and staff,” Emily Lehning, assistant vice president of New Student Services, said. “Prospective students and their families find comfort in knowing that there is air service available to transport students to campus or back to their home. It may be viewed as a convenience or a comfort to know that in a few minutes, you can travel from the campus to the airport to catch a flight.”

The number of passengers traveling through Manhattan Regional Airport has increased each year after introducing regional jet service in 2009, according to construction page of the Manhattan Regional Airport website.

Currently, Manhattan Regional Airport flies to Chicago O’Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth, helping convince high school students to seriously consider attending K-State.

“I think (having the airport) helps, especially when speaking to parents,” Matt Marchesini, K-State admissions representative, said. “An hour and 10 minute flight to Manhattan from Dallas is a lot more convenient and brings some peace of mind than a seven hour drive. Especially in the Dallas area, students and families are fairly knowledgeable about K-State and our top undergraduate student experience”

The expansion includes increasing the size of the terminal building from 12,500 square feet to approximately 42,000 square feet, and adding two enclosed boarding bridges.

“I would really enjoy it if (the expansion) added more direct flights to other destinations,” Kevin Donlin, junior in industrial engineering, said. “I’m from Minnesota and it would be convenient to fly directly to Minneapolis.”