Governor Kelly Announces Entertainment Company to Build $41M Studio and Learning Center, Create 101 Jobs at K-State Salina
TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that Hollywood-based Pure Imagination Studios is partnering with Kansas State University’s Salina Campus, Salina Airport Authority, and the State of Kansas to build an advanced spatial computing studio and learning center. The $41 million investment, which will create 101 new jobs, marks the largest investment in K-State’s Salina campus infrastructure.
The studio and learning center will be named the Kansas Advanced Immersive Research for Emerging Systems (K-AIRES). It will feature state-of-the-art equipment and immersive technologies, enabling the studio to transform the educational experience and establish new frontiers in education, aerospace, manufacturing, entertainment, defense, training, simulation, and other areas.
“K-AIRES shows the benefits of combining two of Kansas’ greatest resources – our universities and pro-business economy – to better prepare our students to join the modern workforce,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This partnership is creating more of the high-tech jobs and exciting opportunities that will keep more of our graduates right here in Kansas.”
Construction on the 58,000-square-foot studio is expected to begin this fall. Approximately 150 workers will be hired during the construction phase.
“Pure Imagination’s selection of Kansas shows that our state’s investment in talent and leveraging higher education to support economic development is working,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “By following the Kansas Framework for Growth and pulling every lever we’ve got, we are creating ‘knowledge jobs’ right here in communities like Salina.”
Pure Imagination Studios is an award-winning independent entertainment studio best known for combining proprietary technology with groundbreaking storytelling. The company’s portfolio of projects has expanded fan engagement on multiple platforms for clients, including DreamWorks, FOX, The LEGO Group, Marvel Entertainment, Merlin, Netflix, Rovio, Six Flags, Warner Bros., and others.
“We are establishing the world’s first spatial computing studio that trains leaders of our future to create revolutionary technology to develop valuable solutions that help humanity leave the world in a better place than we found it,” Pure Imagination founder Joshua Wexler said. “The decision to build the studio at K-State Salina was driven by the school’s and state’s thriving ecosystem and their commitment to fostering cutting-edge research and development.”
Pure Imagination projects include a diverse slate of animated television shows and specials, including the upcoming action-adventure series “The Amazing Stan,” Capcom’s “Monster Hunter,” cultural experiences, digital series, theme park attractions, immersive experiences, and virtual and augmented reality, including the groundbreaking Alien Descent VR experience and the upcoming “Army of the Dead: Viva Las Vengeance” (Netflix) VR experience.
“The foundational components of this facility will allow faculty and researchers to leverage immersive environments to reimagine what 21st-century education should be: The hands-on application of embedded industry projects with collaborative, multidisciplinary problem-solving driving the learning experience,” said Dr. Alysia Starkey, CEO and Dean of the K-State Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus.
Dr. Starkey also said that large-scale research grants, sponsored research projects, and targeted industry partnerships will support the growth of local and state workforce and economic development.