K-State Olathe has hosted 364 events and more than 7,000 people since opening in April, 2011. The university has invested $34 million into the building and benefit district, and is developing relationships with local businesses and school districts; and state, national and international industries.
PHOTO: Middle and high school teachers participate in a food safety workshop at K-State Olathe.
K-State Olathe Promises New Opportunities
The opening celebration has come and gone, and the real work has begun.
With the April 26, 2011, grand opening of its new campus in Olathe, K-State has a new portal to link Kansas City area residents and businesses to the scientific expertise available at the Manhattan and Salina campuses.
The first building on the campus, the International Animal Health and Food Safety Institute, is a $28 million, 108,000-square-foot facility, with classrooms, laboratories, conference rooms, commercial and theater-style kitchens, and a 125-seat auditorium.
K-State Olathe and its design/build partners received the Accessible Community Award for public, private, or civic entities by the City of Olathe’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Board in May 2011.
The building, which was built on 38 acres granted to K-State by the city of Olathe, was financed by a portion of a one-eighth-cent sales tax approved by Johnson County voters in November 2008. Located at the corner of College Boulevard and Valley Road, the campus is part of the Kansas Bioscience Park.
"We have already hosted numerous classes, industry, and community events, including the 'Teaching Food Safety through Food Science' workshop, for middle school and high school teachers," said Dan Richardson, K-State Olathe chief executive officer.
Teachers who enrolled in the four-day course earned graduate credits as they participated in hands-on activities and attended presentations on topics ranging from microbiology to proper food handling to organic farming, taught by K-State faculty. Participants also toured companies, including food ingredient company Danisco and Sysco Food Services of Kansas City.
"I teach three levels of culinary courses in the Blue Valley School District," said Pam Graveholt, family and consumer sciences teacher at Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park. "This course helped me to keep current in research and bring new lessons into my classrooms.
"My upper level culinary students completed one of the lessons where they studied food pathogens and prepared 'Most Wanted' posters for an assigned pathogen."
Richardson explained, "Our location in the heart of the Animal Health Corridor, coupled with the expertise of Manhattan faculty, makes K-State Olathe a natural fit to promote further interaction between industry leaders and our university researchers to work collaboratively on animal health, food safety, and security issues."
K-State Olathe also will offer certificate and continuing education programs for industry.
The new campus welcomed 7- to 12-year-olds when it teamed with K-State Research and Extension Johnson County to host a five-day 4-H Cooking Camp.
"It was pretty lively here that week," Richardson said. "Our kitchen facilities were designed for this -- to foster a teaching environment, so food scientists can demonstrate proper food handling and preparation techniques for audiences, no matter what the age."
More collaborative programs are planned. Graduate level courses for the new campus are in development, and once in place, students working toward animal health and food safety-related master’s and doctoral degrees will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with university and industry researchers.