New indoor practice facility aims to improve student experience

Set to be completed in 2023, the $32.5 million-dollar new football training facility features an outdoor and indoor practice field. This state of the art facility will allow the team to operate smoothly throughout the year. (Kendall Spencer | Collegian Media Group)

Adjacent to the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium is the framework of something new. 

The Kansas State University Athletic Department is getting an upgrade — a new indoor practice facility, Patrick Houlehan, the project superintendent under GE Johnson Construction Company, said. The construction of the project began in December 2021.

“The project encompasses more than just the building,” Houlehan said. “The parking lots have been redone. Also, new side lighting, more user-friendly canopies and gates for the ticket users, new team store and ticket office. The East Stadium concourse has been replaced. The old asphalt has been replaced with new concrete.”

This construction isn’t just for the football department though, Parker Vulgamore, student body president, said.

“We’re building world-class facilities,” Vulgamore said. “Right now, all of our athletics are sharing a weight room and the facilities that are there in the Vanier Center. It’s not capable of fulfilling all of our athletic needs. So we’re building that practice facility, we’re building the Olympic training facility, and this is going to be something that all of our athletics, not just football, not just basketball, will be able to benefit from.” 

To make this project a reality, part of Kimball Avenue has been completely closed down. Kaitlyn Peters, a sophomore in agronomy, said it is difficult for students to access the research fields across the street from the project. 

“They decided with the building of the structure to totally shut down that stretch of the road,” Peters said. “So we actually have to go all the way around. We have to enter through the sheep farm, weave through grain and milling science and then weave around there for a bit and get onto the backside of the agronomy farm area. It’s just really inconvenient.”

Even with construction, K-State students should be able to find a benefit, Vulgamore said. 

“I would encourage students to have an open, optimistic mind about this,” Vulgamore said. “This is the first time that students have designated parking and tailgating at football games, and it is not costing you as students anything, other than the cost of purchasing a stall. So by that, I mean that’s just the willingness of athletics and the rec. They want to prioritize the student experience at Kansas State. And so I think it just goes to show the greater narrative: I think it’s just that general sentiment that students love being at K-State.”