Inside look at Union Station Renovations

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Behind barricades and past dust-covered doors in Old Town, you see a massive restoration effort underway in Wichita’s Union Station.

As with any facelift of the kind, it’s delicate and can be complicated – trying to revive the 100+ year-old building into a business plaza.

The people in charge of the project keep a close eye on history, knowing intricate details about the facility.

“This is the ticket booth, this will be a break room and there will be a couple of offices inside” said Chad Stafford, President of Occidental Management, while giving a tour of the facility to KAKE News Reporter Greg Miller. “This is an iconic area and structure to the city and so the pressure is always, is it done right? Is it done with quality?”

Has been working to renovate it ever since, steel frames in the Mezzanine are gone, opening the area to natural daylight from the floor to the ceiling.

“This is why it was called the daylight station of America, it just flooded all the way across with natural light,” Stafford said. “The station master set up here, he could see people buying tickets and waiting.”

The view from above is even more impressive, even with steps still covered in concrete and rubble. Terra Cotta designs still line the walls and the ceiling design remains the same.

A call center and other businesses have already committed to moving into the station, bringing hundreds of jobs to the area when the construction project is done.

The work happening on the inside is being funded by Occidental Management. Phase II calls for building improvements to the terminal building itself, Union Station Express Building and the adjacent parking areas near the Express Building. Site improvement consist of planters, site lighting, landscaping, irrigation and fencing.

Utility upgrades will also be realized, according to the city’s Project Description. That phase would be funded by tax increment financing.