Wichita, Ks. – If you build it, they will come. That’s the phrase. But, will it work?
“Oh, absolutely,” says WSU President John Bardo.
WSU and city and county leaders have high hopes that an innovation campus will kick-start the Wichita jobs market.
Bardo was one of hundreds on hand to show off the WSU Experiential Engineering building. It’s the first building going up on the WSU innovation campus.
So, does an innovation campus bring in new jobs? The mayor is on board with the idea.
“We’re doing it right now. That’s the whole mission of the Greater Wichita partnership… to bring in new jobs and diversify our workforce,” says Mayor Jeff Longwell. “And we said specifically we need to team with WSU (and) the innovation campus.”
The city and county both kicked in money to help build infrastructure on the old golf course at WSU. Now, instead of a golf course, there are a couple of buildings going up for an innovation campus.
The hope is entrepreneurs will flock to WSU and then stay.
Richard St. Aubin could be one of them. He’s working on a “Deployable Droneswarm” concept.
“The drones are linked. And they can be linked up to ten miles apart,” says WSU Senior, St. Aubin. “And we’ve got some simple concepts that are innovative. The drones have… 3-D mapping. And once we get it refined, it can fly inside a space like this and map it. So you end up getting a 3-D model of the inside of the building.”
President Bardo says that’s exactly what the new innovation campus is shooting for, at least in concept.
“I want to see art and physics and philosophy and psychology and sociology all in a room banging heads to come up with something totally different,” says Bardo. “We will continue to support aviation. But we have to diversity. We are trying to create the evolution of business here in Wichita that are not solely dependent on aviation. We have a bunch of ideas that will spring forward and we will have new announcements of partners.”
The WSU unveiling also showcased Go Create. Go Create is a clearinghouse to share innovative ideas.
Liz Koch, president of the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation unveiled the name, with a cool, new logo.
“We will see… imagination, creation, collaboration and innovation by people of all ages and all backgrounds,” said Koch.
That Koch foundation has donated millions to kick-start the GoCreate concept. You can check it out at gocreate.com