Building a stronger, more profound connection between the Wichita State main campus and its Innovation Campus, the university is proposing the creation of a privately funded elevated pedestrian bridge that will span more than 300 feet across the pond west of Wayne and Kay Woolsey Hall, which is scheduled to break ground later this year.
“This bridge is remarkable in its significance to the campus. It will be a literal walkway connecting Wichita State University to its Innovation Campus. The unique design of the bridge is a three-pronged shape because of its symbolic integration of academics, industry and research,” said Dr. Larisa Genin, dean of the W. Frank Barton School of Business.
The proposed bridge will be considered by the Kansas Board of Regents for future construction, provided that private funds are raised. Groundbreaking for Woolsey Hall, the future home of the W. Frank Barton School of Business, is planned for October.
A community gathering space is included at the midpoint of the bridge, forming a prow that extends off the main circulation path. Designed as a flexible space, a variety of functions can be held on the bridge including outdoor classes, musical performances, and other gathering opportunities. During everyday use, a series of benches are built along the length of the bridge for students, faculty, and industry partners to relax, meet, connect and enjoy lunch from the adjacent food truck plaza and planned Woolsey Hall café.
“The character and spirit of a place is defined by its shared public spaces," said Kristin Beal, placemaking coordinator for Wichita State. “This unique feature will be a connector that can potentially attract new investment and strengthen existing partnerships on our innovation campus.”
Lighting at night highlights the organic form of the bridge with linear lights hidden beneath benches giving a soft glow to the bridge walking path, while lighting on the underside of the bridge reflects on the water below. Integrated signage along the railing will tell the story of those who help support Wichita State University while reflecting the important function of the bridge as a setting for new campus traditions and a connector between the old and new side of campus.
The estimated total cost of the project is $2.65 million and will be funded with private gifts. Fundraising for both the bridge and Woolsey Hall is ongoing.