Digital revival

K-State’s tech pioneers create a digital twin

Kansas State University’s Technology Development Institute (TDI) is turning heads with its latest project: creating a digital twin of Hill City’s historic Memorial School Building.

Utilizing the cutting-edge NavVis VLX system, TDI’s team has digitally immortalized this beloved structure using the power of advanced digital technology.

Bringing a building back
Once the pride of Hill City, Kansas, the Memorial School Building served as a high school and later as Longfellow Middle School until its closure in 2009. Now this architectural treasure is ready for a new chapter thanks to K-State’s Innovation Center and TDI.

Supporting a rural housing initiative by the Innovation Center in northwest Kansas, TDI deployed its NavVis VLX scanner to produce a detailed digital replica of the shuttered school. Traditional architectural plan creation methods are time-consuming and costly, especially in rural areas. In contrast, TDI’s technology completed the scan of the entire building, inside and out, in just four hours.

“Older buildings often lack comprehensive plans,” said Bret Lanz, TDI’s commercialization director. “The digital twin process reduces costs and time, making it easier for developers to evaluate and repurpose these buildings.”

The NavVis system operates like Google Street View, generating detailed digital files that form a 3D model accurate to within 5 millimeters. These digital twins provide a virtual replica, allowing developers to assess properties remotely.

“Creating a digital twin allows us to distribute the files to numerous developers quickly, overcoming logistical challenges and accelerating redevelopment,” said Randy Speaker, a regional housing specialist with the Innovation Center.

Helping all of Kansas
This project is part of the broader K-State 105 initiative, aimed at spurring economic growth across Kansas by leveraging K-State’s resources and expertise. TDI’s innovative efforts are helping rural communities revitalize their architectural heritage and address housing shortages.

“We’re pushing the boundaries of how we can support rural communities,” said Lanz. “By enabling the creation of digital twins, we are opening new doors for development and revitalization.”

Support the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering at Kansas State University and help drive innovation and development in rural communities.

Curated from: Technology Development Institute provides digital scans to help Hill City high school redevelopment (

Written by: Lilly Majors

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