Many Kansas State students spend their time on the south end of campus, where clear barriers and gateways mark where campus starts and stops.
However, up by Bill Snyder Family Stadium and the KSU Foundation, the boundaries are not so clear, Manhattan Deputy City Manager Jason Hilgers said.
“We came together as a city and the university and started talking about ways in which we could enhance and identify that north campus edge and give it a sense of place,” Hilgers said. “It’s difficult for a visitor to understand where campus starts and where campus stops on the northern edge.”
The North Campus Corridor project started in 2015 and is part of multiple plans incorporating K-State Athletics, the KSU Foundation and the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility. The NCC is set to cost a total of $43 million and be completed by 2024.
“That public infrastructure’s there to serve all these development opportunities; they’re tied together,” Hilgers said.
One of the main focuses of the project is making the area pedestrian friendly, Hilgers said.
“There’s a lot of students that drive or walk from main campus up there, and there’s not a lot of good connectivity today,” he said. “This project starts to bring that to light. It gives it a sense of place and an overwhelming consideration to the pedestrian. Today, there’s not a lot. Crossing Kimball can be done with little receiving sidewalks on the north side.”
Sue Peterson, K-State chief government relations officer, was appointed to a task force when the project started. A large part of it has to do with NBAF’s coming, she said.
“We’ve looked at what NBAF is going to help us attract, particularly business and, most importantly, jobs that would either be related to NBAF or in some way, shape or form to K-State,” Peterson said. “It’s opportunities, bringing companies in that might employ students, might give students possibility for internships.”
Hilgers said the NCC project will make the area safer for pedestrians.
“If you’re going down Kimball, you’re primarily on the south side,” Hilgers said. “The plan starts to provide those amenities and safe passage for the pedestrian as they start to get into a number of different features and buildings that are there today or will be in the future.”
While the project is taking time, Hilgers said he believes the wait will be worth it.
“We’ve been at this about six years now,” he said. “It takes that kind of effort to bring something of this magnitude together, but as long as the city and the university have been working together on it, [there’s] an opportunity to deliver a pretty quality product.”
There is currently $17 million in non-city funds committed, including $10 million from city/university, $3 million from K-State Athletics and $4.2 million from a Kansas Department of Transportation grant.
“When the commission, on December 17, authorized 10 million of the 43, [the] K-State Family was in the audience supporting that and the commission approved it 5-0,” Hilgers said.