Our talented group of engineers, landscape architects, and surveyors have designed a wide variety of projects, but all those projects start with the same thing: a piece of land. And that land has to be understood before anything can be built on it.
That’s just what our Land Development team does. They do their best to understand and work with the unique characteristics of each piece of land. This involves creating a project that fulfills the vision of the developer while fitting within the existing community and adhering to all the regulations from the city, county, and state, as applicable.
“Most of the folks we work with have a lot of trust in us,” says Jason Gish, landscape architect and head of MKEC’s Land Development team. “We try to figure out how we can best serve the property. Topography, trees, natural features. We look at all those things. It’s like you have a hunk of clay and you’re trying to mold it.”
Rising to the challenge
Land development comes with its own set of challenges.
“Every step of the way from the beginning of the project through design and construction, there are challenges,” says civil engineer, Scott Evans.
From dealing with regulatory agencies to staying within a developer’s budget, land development is a balancing act that requires a lot of coordination and close relationships with both our clients and the regulatory agencies that we work with.
“Before we start creating a plan, we perform due diligence on a site,” Evans says. “We go through a series of checklists then come up with a land plan. We often have to go through rezoning. You may have neighbors that don’t want this property rezoned. You may have issues with city officials that need resolved. You have to flex with the city master plan.”
All that is before any design has been decided on.
“When you go more into design, you’re dealing with financial challenges. You have to know the lead time on supplies and on the permitting process. Then there’s the financial aspect of it, working with the developer to make sure what we’re designing is in line with their vision and their budget.”
A team approach
Meeting those challenges requires more than just the Land Development team. Because each piece of land is different, each project requires its own set of creative solutions.
MKEC’s diverse team includes landscape architects and civil, electrical and mechanical engineers, which marries the best of the technical expertise of engineers and the creativity of landscape architects.
“We’re kind of unique in the fact that what we’re able to do here is not lose touch with the original idea,” Gish says. “The idea doesn’t get lost. Our team knows enough and we respect each other to where we can do things that create that MKEC look. Everybody has a purpose, and the creative side isn’t dismissed. It’s celebrated. It allows you to find some balance and still have that creative idea.”
“Our team knows enough and we respect each other to where we can do things that create that MKEC look. Everybody has a purpose, and the creative side isn’t dismissed. It’s celebrated.”Jason Gish, Landscape Architect
The new NetApp building on Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus required all of that creativity and the coordination of multiple disciplines within MKEC. NetApp wanted to create a campus that provided high-quality amenities for its employees, which includes outdoor sports courts, walking paths, a plaza area, a reflection pool and green space as well as an upgraded interior facility.
“It has very high-quality aesthetics with unique details,” Gish says. “It’s a first-class space. We got to do things that you wouldn’t normally get to do. They spent a lot of money per square foot to meet their objectives.”
With such high expectations, it was important to get even the smallest details right, which meant calling on all the disciplines within MKEC.
“The more complicated projects, like the NetApp project, we all work together through a whole list of items,” Gish says. “There are all these things just to figure out one simple detail. You might have six different people working through it.”
Valuing people and places
The thing our Land Development team loves most about their purpose is its focus on building relationships and creating functional spaces.
“I enjoy the relationships we have built getting to work on so many great projects,” Gish says. “And, of course, with the people here.”
Evans agrees and both are proud of the things they help create. “It is fun when you have this developer that has this vision, and you can transform the space,” Evans says. “On a day-to-day basis, there’s not a whole lot that we do that is tangible. It’s kind of fun when you can actually go out to something you’ve designed and just see the progression from bare dirt to useful space.”
“On a day-to-day basis, there’s not a whole lot that we do that’s tangible. It’s fun when you can actually go out to something you’ve designed and see the progression from bare dirt to functional space.”Scott Evans, Civil Engineer
Since our start in 1982, we have worked with dozens of developers to create attractive and unique spaces. Tap into our experience for innovative and cost-effective solutions.