Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus is launching a revitalization plan for its aerospace teaching and research facilities thanks to the support of California-based company General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The company’s $10 million dollar gift marks the largest corporate gift to an academic program in Kansas State University’s history.
With the General Atomics gift, K-State Salina will create the General Atomics Aerospace Innovation Ramp, a first in the campus’s aerospace history. The innovation ramp will encompass the southernmost portion of the K-State Salina campus and transform its footprint, revitalizing land that was home to the former Schilling Air Force Base. It will also enhance the campus’s learning environment to meet the needs of the ever-changing aerospace industry, eventually making the campus one of the premier learning spaces in the country for aerospace education.
The innovation ramp will include the area west of Scanlan Avenue and north of Beechcraft Road. K-State Salina’s campus master plan calls for this space to eventually also be home to the Kansas Advanced Simulation Center, the K-State Salina Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence, Aviation Maintenance Training Center, Advanced Composites Lab and a state-of-the-art engineering teaching facility and model factory.
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, Kansas, was one of the many public representatives who played an integral role in the new education space.
“K-State Salina is a leader in educating pilots, and this partnership with General Atomics will help the Aerospace and Technology Campus expand and grow its operations,” Moran said. “General Atomics’ investment in K-State is a testament to the university’s education program and an investment in the future of American aviation.”
General Atomics has been a trusted partner of K-State Salina in recent years. Since 2017, the two have collaborated on projects focused on advancing the aerospace industry. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems CEO Linden Blue is excited about what the General Atomics Aerospace Ramp at the K-State Salina campus will provide to the current challenges facing the industry.
“We have been working with K-State Salina for several years and recognize that now is the time to invest in the Aerospace and Technology campus,” Blue said. “Their campus has a laser-focused vision to be a leader in aerospace and technology, and we are ready to support them in this vision. As General Atomics looks to the future of the aerospace industry, we are proud to have K-State Salina as our educational partner.”
K-State Salina is focused on meeting the entire spectrum of career entry points and workforce needs of a niche industry. For the last three years, the campus has been conversing with industry partners to determine future workforce needs and working to adjust programmatic offerings for the aerospace needs of the future. The new campus master plan and planned developments will anchor the teaching and research activities of the new aerospace programs in the years to come.
“The General Atomics Innovation Ramp will set the Aerospace and Technology Campus apart from many other aerospace-focused institutions through the research and education it will provide,” said K-State President Richard Linton. “The new ramp will foster K-State Salina’s 2030 strategic initiatives and commitment to the residents of Kansas and this region. Not only will this space elevate how our Aerospace and Technology Campus trains future leaders, but it also is a testament to K-State’s mission to elevate the quality of education at this campus and the university as a whole.”
More information about the new General Atomics Aerospace Innovation Ramp at the K-State Salina campus will be announced in the coming months on the K-State Salina website, salina.k-state.edu.