Regents give ok to razing Wheatshocker Apartments

By: Wichita Business Journal Email
By: Wichita Business Journal Email

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TOPEKA, Kan Wichita State University President John Bardo made his case, and the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the Wheatshocker Apartments at Wichita State University to be razed.

It’s the approval Bardo needed to move forward with his plans to create an Innovation Campus at the university, where the Wheatshocker Apartments are now.

The central focus of the Innovation Campus is increasing high tech business start-ups. That campus also could eventually be home to WSU’s W. Frank Barton School of Business.

Earlier this month, Bardo shared with me some of the specifics about WSU’s Innovation Campus.

The first piece of the project will be a roughly $30 million, 160,000-square-foot building, construction on which could start by the end of 2014. Bardo’s hope is for the first building to be operational in 2016.

Bardo tells me that the time frame for constructing the first building in the Innovation Campus depends on how quickly the Wheatshocker Apartments can be torn down.

Those apartments were built in 1964 and have a 591-bed capacity. The Wheatshocker Apartments have provided a housing option for sophomores, married students and single-parent students with no more than two children.

Wichita State will offset the loss of the Wheatshocker apartments with the creation of Shocker Hall, a new student housing facility that will include 782 beds and a 400-seat dining hall. The idea is to bring more students to the center of campus.

The proposed Innovation Campus will be located in the southeast part of WSU’s main campus.

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