Experiential Engineering Building floor cracking, GoCreate set to open


Evan Pflugradt

The Experiential Engineering Building has cracks on all three floors.

As the GoCreate makerspace anticipates its April 8 grand opening, students have raised concerns about the Experiential Engineering Building, which houses GoCreate. Their primary concern: the floor is cracked — on all three floors.

Located along 17th Street on the east side of campus, the Experiential Engineering Building opened in late January as the second building on Innovation Campus. The building has concrete slab floors, which are prone to cracking.

“When having an exposed concrete slab, there is always the understanding that there will be some cracks,” said Emily Patterson, associate director of facilities planning.

“We had the concrete cracks evaluated by the structural engineer on the project,” Patterson said. “The structural engineer evaluated the cracks and determined them to be cosmetic only. All concrete slabs crack, but are typically concealed under flooring material and cannot by seen.”

Patterson said since the finished floor of the Experiential Engineering Building is concrete those cracks are more evident to the naked eye.

The new engineering building is 143,000 square feet and has 25 laboratories. One of its wings is dedicated to the GoCreate makerspace, which is open to the public and offers wood, metal and textile crafting machines.

According to statements on the opening, the GoCreate space is a place where anyone can “create and build almost anything.”

Some of the new facilities available to students include a water jet capable of cutting aluminum a half inch thick and 3D printers capable of producing larger objects than most printers of the type will be in an area called the “reverse engineering lab.” Areas for welding, metalworking, sewing, textiles, aerosol painting, and a computer lab will also be available.

Memberships to the GoCreate makerspace will be available April 1. For $83 a month, $375 a semester and $250 in the summer, students can join. Basic memberships for non-students are $125 a month. Senior citizens and veterans can become members for $99 a month.

The Experiential Engineering Building was funded, in part, by $44.945 million in revenue bonds from the Sedgwick County Public Building Commission. The bonds are guaranteed by a 40-year Sedgwick County mill levy that supports Wichita State. Koch Industries and the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation donated $3.75 million to the project.

The cracks in the floor will remain and be filled with “crack filler material,” Patterson said.

“Other than completely tearing out the slab, there is not a way to repair,” Patterson said.