MANHATTAN, Kan. -- State officials are set to break ground on a new facility in Manhattan that will house the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
A groundbreaking for the new KDA building is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday, June 14, at Kansas State University's Research Park on North Manhattan Avenue.
Speakers will include Kirk Schulz, Kansas State University president; Dale Rodman, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture; and Jerry McReynolds, Kansas State Board of Agriculture chairman.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture is moving the majority of its offices to Manhattan.
Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman made the announcement in early April. The agency's move which will occur no later than June 30, 2014.
A new three story, 50,000 square foot facility will be built directly east of where the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) labs will be constructed. Work on NBAF's central utility plant is currently underway.
Development of the new Department of Agriculture building will be undertaken by the Kansas State University Foundation and it will be leased to the department for a 20-year period.
The location is also adjacent to the Kansas State University Institute of Commercialization and it is close to the College of Agriculture, Kansas State Research and Extension, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the university's international grain science complex and U.S. Department of Agriculture facilities.
Officials say having all of the entities working so closely together is ideal and more cost efficient and will create a hub of agricultural services and research.
The KDA will maintain its main administrative office in Topeka and current field offices in Stafford, Stockton, Parsons and Garden City but the new building in Manhattan will house up to 200 employees and most of the agency’s programs.
Around 150 KDA workers have to decide whether to commute from Topeka to Manhattan, relocate or leave the department.