Fall classes have officially begun. It’s a hope filled day of excitement and K-State pride. As if on cue the morning air has turned crisp and cool in the Flint Hills surrounding Manhattan Kansas. An unusually wet summer has blessed us with a full tree canopy and healthy turf grass along with the continued sounds of construction progress.
Out on campus seniors energized by summer internships strategically plan their entrance into the workforce, graduate programs and community service next spring. Freshmen, having plotted a course for that first class this weekend now arrive early, meet mentors and make good impressions as they seek paths of discovery, discipline and leadership to follow their entire life.
Friendships are being forged. Future business partners and community leaders will sit next to each other in class, share notes and form a study group. Helping hands reaching out later in life will approach each other on the sidewalk, say hello then plan to meet later in the day. A few will meet potential partners and discuss balancing family with career and dream of discovering the world together. There will be challenges of time management for social schedules, rec center workouts, homework, term papers, critiques and tests – big time life decisions will be made.
Looking back in 10, 20, 50 years fond memories will mark their steps. Memories set in time and place at K-State are now framed and inspired by the physical paths and places you help create and maintain for them every day. Yes, we are truly here because they are here. Additionally, I believe the K-State Family loves this place in large part because of the daily commitment by the Facilities Team to make it memorable.
It’s a great time to be at K-State and it’s about to get even better as we look ahead to opening some of the premier teaching, learning and research spaces in the country. Our new Engineering Ph 4, Berney Family Welcome Center and College of Business Administration will be places of connection and transparency promoting student-to-student, student-to-faculty and faculty-to-faculty interaction that is second to none in an environment shaped by all of you serving daily on the Facilities Team. Our new chilled water distribution project has strategically allowed us to accelerate the master plan development functionally as well as aesthetically by becoming more pedestrian centered in the core of campus. And finally – as we look to kick off a renovation of both Seaton East and the Union we’ve set a high bar of capital improvement that will benefit campus for years to come.
As many of you know I’m quickly approaching my second year service anniversary and induction into the K-State Family. With your help we’ve put some serious points on the board for K-State. Campus feedback is overwhelmingly in support of the new Customer Service Desk and Maintenance Team approach because of the commitment you make to its continued success. It’s also clear that our buildings are strategically planned and coordinated for the full life cycle of possibilities because of the new cooperative spirit between operations and planning.
There’s a lot more to do and my door is always open for your suggestions. I’ve had the pleasure to visit personally with a number of you and have learned a great deal about your desire to see K-State be an even better place to come work each day. I’m often told that a number of our positions don’t keep pace with market hourly rates – in many cases based on what I’ve experienced I would have to agree. With that in mind you need to know that we are committed to working through these issues with the newly reorganized division of Human Capital to address funding gaps in hard-to-hire positions and look ahead for solutions to the anticipated findings of the job analysis questionnaires we all completed.
Thanks to all of you for being part of the Facilities Team.
Associate VP Facilities & University Architect