WICHITA, Kansas – The future of one of the long standing facilities on Wichita State’s campus could be in doubt.
Friday afternoon Wichita State President John Bardo announced plans to transform the university into an innovation campus over the next 20 years.
The majority of the land needed to complete this massive project would come from the Braeburn Golf Course.
Pat Brokschmidt has been playing golf for 25 years and frequents the course up to four times a week, but soon he will have to find another place to play.
“Down the road, everything they’re trying to do is great, but I think they’re just taking things away from everybody who plays here too soon,” said Brokschmidt.
With plans to break ground on the first engineering building for the innovation campus at the beginning of the year, John Wright, the owner of WBG, which oversees the operation of the course says it will soon be closed to the public.
“The negotiation we have with the university is that it will cease to be open to the public October 31st,” said Wright.
Wright says the reason behind the quick closure is that the construction in january would wipe out the maintenance building, and portions for the fourth and fifth holes.
It’s something Wright said would be a financial burden to keep up operation, which is why the university bought out the year remaining on the courses contract.
However, Wright also points out that the land originally was never intended to house a golf course.
“The golf course was purchased for the sole purpose in 1958 by the Board of Trustees to expand the university, it was never intended to be a golf course,” said Wright.
Wright says the current plan is to downsize the course to a driving range, surrounded by two or three holes.
This will be used as a practice facility for the WSU men and women’s golf teams.
The Braeburn Golf Course has a long standing history with the university.
It was constructed as a six hole course in 1897, when WSU was then known as Fairmount University.
The current site was built as the Crestview Country Club in the 1930’s.
When the Arnold Palmer Franchise was brought to WSU, the course was renamed Braeburn in the late 1990’s.