COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, U.S. — The construction of a new building for the Department of Grain Science and Industry facility on the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., is under serious consideration, said Gordon Smith, PhD, director of the IGP Institute and head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University. Smith discussed the “concept” for replacing Shellenberger Hall on Oct. 19 as part of a presentation on the state of the Department of Grain Science and Industry at the North American Millers’ Association annual meeting in Colorado Springs.
Shellenberger Hall, which is home to the Department of Grain Science and Industry, was built in 1960. It was named for Professor John A. Shellenberger, who became head of the department in 1944 and led it for 26 years. Building a new facility has been discussed for many years, but the increasing impact of deferred maintenance has made this a higher priority.
“Infrastructure at the university is struggling, because there has been little budget,” Smith said. “All the maintenance has been deferred. We spent our money on mission critical issues, but we have not spent it on critical maintenance issues.”
Smith said KSU has created a concept to replace the aging Shellenberger Hall with a more modern facility. The concept has been shared with state senators and would cost $65 million to build.
“There is hope that some of that can be obtained in partnership with the state,” Smith said.
He said the new Grain Science and Industry facility would be more optimally located for collaboration contiguous with the food and animal science groups.
“We would then have proximity to our two major university partners — food science and animal science,” he noted.
Smith thanked the assembled leaders of the North American milling industry for their past support and asked them to consider (financial) support for the department’s plan.
“Here is what you can do for me for the new facility; this is being driven by the needs of the department being acknowledged by the college,” he said. “So if you have comments, questions or concerns I would urge you to reach out directly to the Dean of the College of Agriculture (Ernie Minton).”
Private donors already have stepped forward to commit money to a potential project, Smith said.
“When it comes time to build the new building, we are going to be talking to the industry about support,” he noted. “The plans are still in process, as is the location/building cost. What is absolutely certain is that the university will need significant support from the industry and individual donors to make this a reality.”
In addition to presenting on the new concept building, Smith also reviewed the enrollment in the College of Agriculture between 2015 and 2018. He said enrollment in the Bakery Science Management course declined to 55 in the fall of 2018, down 21% from 70 enrolled students in the fall of 2015, while enrollment in Feed Science Management decreased 22% to 42 from 54. Meanwhile, enrollment in Milling Science Management totaled 79 in the fall of 2018, up 16% from 68 in the fall of 2015. Enrollment in Milling Science Management remained off from a high of 88 enrolled in 2017, though, Smith said.