Regents approve new Innovation Campus crash dynamics lab


The Kansas Board of Regents gave Wichita State the go-ahead to begin construction of a new crash dynamics laboratory on Innovation Campus.

Planning and construction of the new facility are expected to take 18 months to complete.

The current 4,500-square-foot facility features a dynamic sled system capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 mph. The sled system is equipped with crash test dummies and used to simulate various types of crash impacts for research on the safety of aircrafts, child restraints, and mass transit systems.  

Elaine Frisbie, Kansas Board of Regents vice president of finance and administration, said the current facility is dated and the sled no longer supports upgrades. Instead of updating the facility again or replacing the current sled, WSU will be build a completely new facility on Innovation Campus. 

The report said the new system will allow the National Institute for Aviation Research to expand its research to include “space capsule crashworthy seat design, high-speed impact automotive applications, side impact, and mass transit safety for multiple occupant configurations.” 

The total cost of the brand new 13,500-square-foot facility is estimated at $7.5 million. Funds will come both from federal grants and restricted use funds generated through private industry use of the facility.

Frisbie said the existing facility will remain in use for as long as possible after completion of the new facility, but it is reaching the end of its useful life.