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Airbus, Dassault Systemes, officially open on WSU's Innovation Campus

Published: Jan. 17, 2017 at 12:47 PM CST
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Wichita State's innovation campus officially got more high-tech Thursday.

Airbus and Dassault Systemes both celebrated grand openings on campus and demonstrated tools and robots that equip WSU with the latest manufacturing technology.

All the new development also has students who were considering opportunities outside of Wichita, or even outside of Kansas after finishing their education, wanting to start their careers right here.

At Dassault, 3D printers are testing out new aircraft wing shapes that could be on planes in the future.

There are virtual reality labs capable of simulating a rescue mission before it happens in real life, and multi-functional robots that can inspect, and manufacture parts.

The special equipment is in just a few of the labs at Dassault Systemes.

"Bringing the latest out of manufacturing, reverse engineering, it's really the latest technology there," said Joel Trembly, a senior at WSU.

It makes sense at their grand opening Thursday.

"I was definitely looking at other places across the nation," said Trembly, who is job hunting. "Now, it's definitely made me more interested to stay here in Wichita."

Next door, another major company celebrated it's grand opening.

Airbus' new engineering center employs 300 people.

The company says it picked WSU for its new location because it knows putting students and industry together makes it more competitive.

Brian McTique is a junior at WSU.

"It brings everything. I'm able to tell my friends back home I work for Airbus. And they're like what?" he said. "It (the opportunities) will keep me here for a long period of time."

It has one Ph.D. candidate feeling the same way.

"My first priority, second priority, and third priority is Airbus," said Ali Ghazinezami.

Students say this innovation campus is something that takes Wichita State to the next level.

"It definitely adds that better image to WSU to have this all on campus," Trembly said.

An apartment complex and the law enforcement training center are currently under construction on the innovation campus. Other planned buildings include a student community center, a new recreation center, and two hotels.

Wichita State president John Bardo says downtown revitalization and this new innovation campus are now the two biggest drivers of the Wichita economy.

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Wichita State University held a soft opening Tuesday for its new Experiential Engineering Building on the Innovation Campus.

The university announced plans, more than two and a half years ago for a place to bring professionals and collaborators together.

Many students and faculty got their first look inside the building.

David Templonuevo is one of those students, and he was impressed.

"Really cool. Lots of cool stuff. I read the paper and I've gone to different rooms, and this room specifically, I'm really impressed," said Templonuevo.

There are no traditional classrooms in this buildings, just labs, like this one, equipped with powerful computers for flight simulators and gaming.

"Classes can come into these hubs, these learning labs and actually utilize the equipment in a way, shape or format that fits what that discipline is dealing with," said Tony Vizzini, Provost and Senior Vice President at Wichita State University.

Inside the robotics and automation lab, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done before it's ready to be used. When it's done, it will house the world's first six robot 3D printer that will print on six planes. It will also rival some of the largest 3D printers in the world, able to create something as large as a golf cart.

In all, there are 25 laboratories.

There's also a community space called GoCreate.

It's a partnership with Koch where, for $125 a month, people can come in collaborate, create and make things happen.

"In terms of bringing in the community, you got an idea, come on down, this is the place to go," said Vizzini.

While there is work that still needs to be done, the building is functional and already being used.

Templonuevo plans to spend a lot of time here networking and innovating.

"Us millennials are very sociable and we like talking to people and I feel like right here in the building there's a lot of chances for that," said Templonuevo.

WSU plans to have a community open house and grand opening in April, when the building is compete.