Design-build demonstration project: Encouraging improvements in campus and community planning, design, and operations, KSU raingarden



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Kansas State University


Throughout urbanizing parts of Kansas, stormwater is typically sent quickly away from developed areas and straight-piped into drainage ways, streams, rivers, and/or detention and retention ponds. As a result of these and other land-use practices, many riparian ecosystems in the Upper Kansas River Watershed are severely degraded. Additionally, large amounts of groundwater are pumped to the surface and sprayed on lawns, gardens, and other landscapes. Very little water returns to replenish underground water reserves. This collaborative design-build project engaged students, faculty, staff, and professionals in the task of considering ecologically sound ways to treat storm water that falls on the Kansas State University (KSU) campus. In the process, two specific goals were achieved: 1) Designed and created a rain-garden along Campus Creek to reduce storm water run-off and improve water quality. 2) Demonstrated ways to creatively address urban storm water runoff to KSU administrators, staff, faculty, students, and visitors. This project involved stakeholders at KSU and other communities, raising their awareness of best practices, testing design ideas on the ground, and engaging those who influence stormwater management. Primary educational goals were to: 1) help students deepen their knowledge of both natural and human systems, 2) necessitate collaborative, interdisciplinary teamwork, and 3) require critical thinking about how conceptual design ideas are translated into construction drawings and functioning systems with a limited budget of time and money. The KSU-International Student Center Rain-Garden helps people recognize the value of water and its role in sustaining developed landscapes and natural ecosystems by considering ways to harness rainwater for irrigation and ecological renewal. This demonstration project has led to a number of other planning/design projects that have the potential to improve the KSU campus as well as infrastructure and operations within other Kansas communities.



Rain-gardens, Stormwater, Water runoff, Rainwater, Landscapes, Ecosystems