Overland Park — Gov. Mike Hayden, Kansas University brass and the Baby Jay mascot unveiled a rendering Tuesday of the new KU Regents Center on a hillside where the satellite campus will open in 1993.
Hayden and Chancellor Gene Budig told guests assembled at the 127th Street and Quivira Road site that the new center will enable the university to expand services in greater Kansas City.
The current center has been located in the old Linwood Elementary School building at 9900 Mission Road since it opened in 1975. Academic programs offered by KU have outgrown the existing center.
"This new center will make our graduate programs available in an area of our state that has experienced explosive growth in population and demand for educational opportunities," Hayden said.
Total cost of the center is $6 million. In 1988, the Kansas Legislature approved $2 million in financing. Remaining funds will come from revenue bonds supported by student fees and other sources.
ABOUT 1,400 students are enrolled at the center. For the next 20 years students attending the off-campus facility will pay a fee of $10 per credit hour to help retire the bond debt.
The center will be located several miles south of the intersection of Interstate 435 and Quivira Road. It will take KU faculty teaching at the center less than an hour to reach the building.
"The proximity of this new location to the main campus in Lawrence and greater Kansas City will make this facility a contributing factor to the economic growth of Kansas City and Johnson County," Hayden said.
Budig said the Regents Center has provided educational opportunities for traditional students and professional men and women who enrolled in graduate, undergraduate and continuing education programs.
"Our success, well-documented, has challenged and finally defeated the Regents Center itself. We cannot expect to serve the educational needs of this important area without better facilities," he said.
BESIDES the 16 regular classrooms of various sizes, the center will include a 100-seat lecture hall, two 70-seat classrooms, a 6,600-square-foot library and six specialized classrooms.
The new center will have telecommunications facilities to bring in courses from KU's Lawrence campus and other state universities by satellite for transmission to other points in the area.
Land for the facility was donated by KU alumnus Clay Blair, Mission Hills. Bids for the project will be opened next month. If winter weather is mild, construction could begin in January.
Allen Wiechert, director of facilities planning, said construction is expected to take two years. The building should be ready in spring 1993. Earlier plans called for its completion in 1992.
Joseph Bauman, dean of the KU School of Business, said the quality of student attracted to the center's upper level and graduate courses over the past 15 years has been outstanding.
"Our view is this is very well-targeted education that hits a group of people that are already employed, that are rising to positions of leadership," he told about 100 people at the ceremony.