Kansas State won’t complete the move out of its Vanier Football Complex until Dec. 8 to make way for the construction of a state-of-the-art facility on the north end of Bill Snyder Family Stadium, but the transition to a temporary home has already begun.
The moment the Wildcats boarded a chartered flight last week to West Virginia for a 26-20 victory over the Mountaineers, movers began taking pictures off the walls of the structure K-State has called home since it was built and named after long-time booster Jack Vanier.
It was the first step toward a move that will send the team’s weightlifting equipment to the Brandeberry Indoor Complex, next to the baseball stadium, the team’s locker room to its indoor practice facility south of Bramlage Coliseum, and the team’s coaching staff to the West Stadium Center until the 2015 season.
“It’s a lot of moving parts,” K-State assistant athletic director for administration Clint Dowdle said. “A lot of dialogue was put into it. Together, it took us from about March until July to fine-tune it. It impacts every sport in some small way.”
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Indeed, the Vanier Football Complex is one of the most important buildings on campus. Not only does it house coaching offices and player locker rooms, it is home to the athletic department’s academic learning center. And athletic director John Currie uses the building’s largest rooms for meetings with his entire staff.
To be without it for months, even with an improved facility on the way, is a burden. But few are complaining.
“We are fortunate to have great coaches and staffs who are willing to work together to make the best out of the transition,” Dowdle said. “There will be a short-term inconvenience for an amazing building and a long-term gain.”
K-State considered setting up trailers around its football stadium to accommodate the move, but decided it had enough available space within its current athletic facilities — as long as every inch is used.
Coaches, including Bill Snyder, will work in stadium suites that are currently being rented to boosters. Players will have position meetings in them, as well. Student-athletes will meet with tutors and study on the club level of the West Stadium Center. The suites and club levels on the east side of the stadium will be used for storage.
Teams will have to share indoor training space.
Movers will switch out furniture between facilities and ship the football team’s weight equipment from one building to another for an estimated cost of $100,000. As a learning tool, K-State administrators visited Texas A&M before its football team switched from one complex to another.
“Our planning, thoughts and decisions throughout this entire transition process was with the student-athletes in mind,” Dowdle said. “We do not want to do anything that will take away from their training or preparation.”
Still, the moving schedule will be tight.
The Vanier complex will be demolished Dec. 8, and K-State needs to get everything out of the facility before then without disrupting the football team’s late-season preparations. The Wildcats play host to Kansas on Saturday and travel to Baylor on Dec. 6.
After that, they will prepare for their bowl game, play host to recruits and go through spring practices in their temporary setup.
“Things will be different, and football will have to change their recruiting itinerary,” Dowdle said, “But to be up in the West Stadium Center and look down at the building of new Vanier is a great view of the future.
“It will definitely be an advantage in recruiting and other areas.”