The Aircraft Structural Test & Evaluation Center (ASTEC) for the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) complements the central mission of Wichita State University’s world renown aviation research college. The off-campus facility design was a renovation and rehabilitation of an existing 10,000 seat municipal arena. The resulting one-of-a-kind aviation research and testing facility includes a 56,800 SF single level, high bay, long span structural testing laboratory that can accommodate a full size, fully assembled commercial passenger jet.
The key design component was the modification of the arena bowl and seating areas to accommodate the arrangement and testing of multiple aircraft in multiple positions and at various stages of deconstruction and reconstruction. The arena’s back of house areas were rehabilitated to accommodate independent materials testing laboratories, a mock tooling and fabrication shop as well as assembly support shops to develop and test manufacturing processes.
Additionally, the renovation includes a materials and component systems library, administrative offices, multiple production shop areas, seminar and classroom spaces, multiple fabrication shops, a truck dock and receiving area, parts storage, as well as associated support spaces and circulation areas.