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A walk through Ice Hall

By Hayli Morrison

The College of Human Ecology has set its sights to “focus first on people.” When Mary and Carl Ice Hall opened last June, it took that mission to new heights.

On any given day, you might see personal financial planning students conducting research with local residents on financial planning and financial therapy. While walking through the Sensory Analysis Center, you might observe researchers categorizing flavored products to improve the quality and consistency of Kansas imports and exports. Proceed to the back of the 20,000-square-foot building and you might see someone walking on a treadmill while connected to a hoist system designed to mimic lunar gravity.

Two things are particularly striking about a walk through Mary and Carl Ice Hall — the College of Human Ecology is producing an incredibly diverse range of research projects, and they desperately needed more space to do so.

Dr. Tom Barstow knows a thing or two about that. Before Ice Hall opened, the professor of kinesiology had a particularly challenging time with his $1.2 million NASA research project. To accommodate various university events, he repeatedly changed locations between Ahearn Field House and the adjacent gymnasium — including moving a 400-pound rock wall and two-story mobile staircase.

“I think we moved it three or four times altogether and we now have a permanent home,” Barstow said. “We’re so thankful and relieved to have Ice Hall available to us.”

Faculty members aren’t the only ones grateful for Ice Hall. Undergraduate students are now able to get more hands-on research experience, one of the key tenets of K-State’s vision to become a top 50 public research university by 2025. Ice Hall’s clinical environment presents financial planning students with an opportunity for hands-on, real-world training through the Institute of Personal Financial Planning Clinic.

“We’re hearing from employers that more research needs to be done in an office environment so they know what works with clients,” said Dr. Kristy Archuleta, associate professor of personal financial planning in the School of Family Studies and Human Services. “Ice Hall gives students a more realistic office-type environment like they’ll actually be working in some day, and the experience of what it would be like to run an experiment in an office environment.”

For an entirely different reason, Ice Hall is equally exciting for Dr. Edgar Chambers IV, director of the Sensory Analysis Center and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition. Though the center’s previous home in Justin Hall was very nice, it limited growth opportunities.

“Now we can do some things we couldn’t possibly do at Justin,” Chambers said. “For example, as we move into products that aren’t food, we have space to do that separate from food so we don’t have any potential contamination.”

Chambers adds his future vision for Ice Hall is “beyond world-class,” with the furnishings and equipment to accommodate more research on a grander scale. “Our goal by 2025 is to be the place everyone wants to come,” he said.

That goal seems within reach, particularly with Ice Hall’s location in K-State’s rapidly expanding research corridor.

“This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting times of growth and expansion for our college and for K-State,” said Dr. John Buckwalter, dean of human ecology. “We are so grateful to Mary and Carl Ice for generously supporting our continued focus on groundbreaking research to help the people of Kansas, the Midwest and beyond. With help from our tremendous alumni and friends, our college is poised to make an even greater difference here at K-State and around the world.”

How you can help

To learn how you can support students, faculty, facilities and programs within the College of Human Ecology, please contact Dana Hunter at 785-532-7291 or danah@found.ksu.edu.

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