Building HIRE Education

Manhattan Tech seeks to expand their campus to meet the demands of Manhattan’s workforce

When it comes to a community’s economic sustainability and long-term viability, few institutions can drive the impact of an area like a technical college. While Manhattan is internationally known as one of the nation’s leading educational institution of higher learning with Kansas State University, one of the Little Apple’s strongest economic attributes lies at the corner of Seth Child Road and Dickens Avenue. 

Since it’s founding in 1965, Manhattan Area Technical College, or simply Manhattan Tech, has proven to be critical to the workforce numbers and economy of the greater Manhattan area. The statistics even speak for themselves. Manhattan Tech has the number one-ranked return on investment among all public colleges and universities in Kansas. They have the 25th-best graduation rate in the nation, and they sit atop the rankings as the best education in Kansas at the lowest price among two-year colleges. Their Construction Tech and RN programs are ranked first in the state, and the LPN program is third. WalletHub, a finance-based website, even recently ranked Manhattan Tech as the fourth best two-year college in the entire nation - out of nearly 700 schools. WalletHub compiled this list based on educational outcomes and graduation rate, as well as job outcomes, job placements and job earnings.

Most impressively, they have achieved these top rankings while having the single-smallest campus of all Kansas public colleges and universities - and without receiving taxpayer support. Unlike a public school, or a community college, Kansas tech colleges do not get any local property tax contributions. 

With bio manufacturer, Scorpion Biological Services, setting it’s sights on Manhattan and becoming operational within the next few years, it is imperative that this MHK educational institution quickly gets a new, updated and modern campus. At least 50% of Scorpions’ estimated 500 employees will come directly from Manhattan Tech. 

“Their goal with what they are doing here, is to be in the top five in the nation in biomanufacturing and bioscience,” says Dr. James Genandt, President and CEO of Manhattan Tech. “Again, this is why this new building and our ability to help train up to half of their workforce is vital. It’s not ‘gee, it would be nice if we could do it’ - we have to do it. If we want to turn this part of the state into that biotech and bioscience hub, working alongside K-State, and also creating additional incredible workforce and economic opportunities, we have to make this happen. We simply need more room” 

Thus, the Building HIRE Education campus expansion capital campaign was born. Led by Genandt, and Harry Watts from the Manhattan Tech Foundation, a fundraising campaign began to fund the new campus and is currently underway. Phase I of the project broke ground on November 11, and will be the first in a series of four phases. The first phase will include a new, 47,000-square-foot prefabricated building, and will house six technical programs, including biomanufacturing. Phase II will feature a new, three-story building at the corner of Wreath & Dickens Avenues for bio-services and healthcare. Phase III will include renovations to the existing main building, while adding to the quickly-growing Information & Network Technology program. Then, Phase IV, will include new and expanded space to the northwest corner of campus, which will be the home of community services, childhood development, and the regional testing center. All said and done, the campus will go from its current 86,000 square feet, to over 230,000. Starting after Phase 1, the estimated economic impact will also grow, from the current $18 million dollars annually to over $50 million.

“When you keep people employed, its not just more property tax, it’s more sales tax - which is the real key for city and county government budgets,” says Genandt. “You’re also keeping families here, which helps our local school populations, alongside job growth. This whole approach, this whole strategy, is to keep this circle of life going with good jobs, good businesses and good communities. That’s really at the foundation of it all.” 

The building for phase one will cost around $16 million dollars, and the funding is a third of the way there. Since it is the Season of Giving, Manhattan Tech could use your help.

“We love any donation, of any size for this project,” says Genandt. “There are naming rights, and they are very flexible. Again remember, we don’t get any local taxes. That is one thing the public often misunderstands about us. We are funded by tuition, and private donations. So we really could use your help! We cannot state how important this is for the future of Manhattan.” 

LEARN MORE: to donate, and to see more renderings and plans of the Building HIRE Education campus expansion capital campaign, visit Manhattantech.edu/future. 

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