Eight significant projects are being built, planned or discussed for the east side of the Wichita State University campus. Here is a summary as of Feb. 27:
- The long-planned Element by Westin Hotel, at 19th and Oliver, is expected to break ground this spring and be ready for occupancy in summer 2019. Plans announced previously were delayed by the sale of Westin’s parent company to Marriott. The 83-room hotel reflects Marriott’s rethinking of the Element concept. The hotel, which emphasizes ecological sustainability, will include a 24-hour fitness center, indoor pool and outdoor patio with fire pit.
- Phase 2 of The Flats at WSU is expected to break ground this spring to offer additional student housing options by the beginning of 2019 fall semester. The location just east of Phase 1 will include about 223 beds in 123 suites.
- The National Institute for Aviation Research is building a Crash Dynamics Lab at 18th and Oliver. It will house a new crash sled, supported by a grant from the U.S. Navy.
- The Student Health and Wellness Center, which will include the on-campus YMCA, is in the planning process. A groundbreaking date has not been set, but completion is expected by the start of the spring semester of 2020 on a site south of Eck Stadium.
- Two developer-owned restaurant/retail buildings are under construction in Braeburn Square and will be ready for tenants to begin interior improvements in March. Several potential retail and restaurant businesses are expected to be completed and open for business before fall semester begins in August. The buildings, near 21st and Oliver, will overlook an outdoor dining/entertainment area and a lake with firepots and a footbridge.
- Partnership Building 2, neighboring the Airbus and the Experiential Engineering buildings, is scheduled for completion in April. Tenants will include the College of Engineering (COE) Student Success Center, COE administrative offices and WSU’s Firepoint Innovation Center. Firepoint Innovation Center is a partnership with the U.S. Army’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center that facilitates joint projects and accelerates technology transfer. Other tenants will be announced as agreements are completed.
- Wonder, an independent experiential learning school, is set to open in its temporary location this fall in the building that previously housed WSU’s Printing Services, north of NIAR. Wonder is completing an approximate $1.1 million renovation to the building. The school’s permanent location is tentatively planned for a site on Innovation Boulevard, east of the proposed new home of the College of Business. When Wonder vacates its current location, that renovated building will be converted into an Innovation Center for faculty, staff and students, replacing the Innovation Center that is currently shown on the WSU master plan.
- Another partnership building, known as Partnership Building 7, is under discussion. Private developers would fund and construct it as a spec building located on Innovation Boulevard, at 19th Street.