Salina Bulk Solids Innovation Center breaks ground

K-State Communications and Marketing
An artist's rendering shows the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center, which will be built in north Salina.  (Photo: K-State Salina)

A groundbreaking for the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center took place July 10 in the 600 block of North Front Street in Salina. 

The center is the project of Kansas State University with partners the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, Salina Economic Development Corporation, U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the state of Kansas and the city of Salina. The center is expected to be completed in 2015.

The research facility will be the only one of its kind in North America. The nearly 13,000-square-foot center will be used to study and develop the understanding of bulk solids materials handling. Bulk solids are loose, dry commodities such as sugar, minerals, pigments and recycled plastics that account for more than 80 percent of items transported around the world.

Kansas State University will be the key tenant in the center, which will be used by technology, engineering and agriculture faculty members to conduct research that will complement university programs in both Manhattan and Salina. The center also will let the university's students immerse themselves in an industry setting. Two local companies, Coperion K-Tron Salina Inc. and Vortex Valves, will supplement the facility by serving as anchor occupants.

"The Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center is another example of not only the inspiring quality Salina has to continue to grow and develop and attract impressive industries to our area, but also how the community's entities can work together for a common goal," said Dennis Lauver, president and CEO of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. "The groundbreaking ceremony will be an opportunity to hear from all of the people who have remained committed to making this idea a reality."

The groundbreaking ceremony will include comments from Dale Heuszel, Salina Area Chamber of Commerce board chair; Jon Blanchard, Salina commissioner; Todd Smith, general manager of Coperion K-Tron Salina; Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of Kansas State University Salina; Ron Fowles, construction lead on the project; and Lauver. Also attending is Cory Downing, vice president of engineering at Salina Vortex; Doug McKinney, executive director of North Central Regional Planning Commission in Beloit; Jeff Gillam, president of Jones Gillam Renz Architects; Trey Mowery, Salina Economic Development Corporation; and Randy Duncan, chairman of the Saline County Commission.

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