Transforming the landscape

In 2014, the University of Kansas launched a campus master plan to put our aspirations as a flagship research university into physical form. Key to that plan was the development of our Central District into a new hub of education and research that would address urgent needs and position us for excellence for decades to come.

Today, the blueprints and renderings have morphed to concrete and steel. Construction crews completed work in summer 2018 on the Central District, which includes six key components: the Integrated Science Building, a residence hall and dining facility, apartment-style student housing, a student union, a parking garage, and a central utility plant.

Below is additional information for each of the six components.

Integrated Science Building

The Integrated Science Building comprises 280,000 square feet of space for teaching, learning and interdisciplinary research in chemistry, medicinal chemistry, physics, molecular biosciences and related fields. For our students, this means new classrooms, new ways of interacting with instructors and classmates, and close integration of their undergraduate studies with cutting-edge research activity. For our researchers, it means a state-of-the-art facility designed to spawn multidisciplinary research and be an anchoring point for collaboration among KU’s research centers and campuses.

More broadly, the Integrated Science Building benefits our entire university by helping us recruit new scholars, pursue new funding opportunities, foster technology-based startups and enhance the visibility of KU nationally.

The building opened in summer 2018.

Cora Downs Residence Hall and South Dining Commons

Cora Downs Hall, a 545-bed residence hall and dining facility, offers suite-style living for new and returning students. It is located near the intersection of Naismith Drive and 19th Street, next to the existing Oliver Hall.

This new facility addressed urgent housing needs for the university, which saw four straight years of overall enrollment growth through fall 2017.

The residence hall and South Dining Commons opened in fall 2017.

Stouffer Place Apartments

This 708-bed apartment-style housing complex features a north and a south building and a terrific location along 19th Street approaching Iowa Street. The units are designed to have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, or four bedrooms and four bathrooms. The name of the complex recognizes the old Stouffer Place apartments, which were torn down as part of the Central District renovations. 

This new facility addressed urgent housing needs for the university, which saw four straight years of overall enrollment growth through fall 2017.

These buildings opened in summer 2018.

Frank R. Burge Student Union

A new student union replaced the Burge Union and contains 33,000 square feet of space to support the needs of students, faculty and staff with student service offices and study space. It takes the historic name.of the old Burge Union, which was torn down as part of the renovations.

The union includes new conference space to expand KU's ability to host conferences and events. In addition to the event space, the facility serves as the new home to Legal Services for Students, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center, the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity, a reflection space, a lactation room and a coffee shop/convenience store to provide sustenance and sundries to the KU community.

This facility opened in spring 2018.

Parking garage

A new parking garage supports additional parking demand in the Central District. The new garage opened in 2017.

Central utility plant

A new central utility plant provides support for these new facilities and other areas of campus. This project was completed in March 2018.

 
 
 
 

From the Chancellor

"I’ve spoken often about our mission and our aspirations to be recognized among the nation’s top public research universities. The Central District gives us the resources to continue that mission and achieve those aspirations like never before."

Douglas A. Girod
Chancellor

Construction timeline

Completion dates for each of the Central District's six key components are as follows:

Spring 2017 - Parking garage
Summer 2017 - Downs Residence Hall, South Dining Commons
Spring 2018 - Burge Union
Summer 2018 - Integrated Science Building
Summer 2018 - Stouffer Place Apartments
Summer 2018 - Central utility plant

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