If contract negotiations go smoothly, the architectural firm ASAI will begin design work on a KU building honoring former Sen. Bob Dole.
Officials with the state and Kansas University have agreed to negotiate with a Lenexa-based architectural firm for the contract to design KU's Dole Institute for Public Service and Public Policy.
Negotiations with the firm ASAI will begin July 22 in the state architect's office in Topeka.
``If that's not successful, we have the choice to go to our second choice, third choice, and so on,'' Kansas University Architect Warren Corman said. ``(But) I'm sure we'll come up with a contract by that evening.''
The planned $6 million facility will house former Sen. Bob Dole's political papers and memorabilia and will be used for conferences and special events.
``Certainly it's an exciting project,'' said Steve Abend, president of ASAI and design team leader for the Dole project. ``I look forward to doing something that is respectful and that honors the man who the building is named for.''
Prominent ASAI designs include Topeka's Kansas Center for Historical Research, the new Charles Evans Whittaker Federal Courthouse in Kansas City, Mo., and the restored and expanded Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo.
``There was a special touchstone there,'' said Abend, a former faculty member at the KU School of Architecture. The Dole Institute ``is a unique building -- it needs a special sense of presence. Plus it's our first opportunity to work with the KU campus.''
The 30,000-square-foot building will be located just west of the Lied Center parking lot on KU's West Campus. Bids for construction will follow the upcoming design phase. The institute is slated for completion by fall 2000.
In the spring, the Kansas Legislature approved $3 million in funding for the building, despite concerns from assorted legislators about setting a precedent of contributing funds to such memorial projects. The remaining $3 million was guaranteed through private donations to the KU Endowment Association.
``We've got the money, we're ready to go as soon as we get a contract,'' Corman said.
Earlier in the month, KU and state officials interviewed five firms, including three from Lawrence and one from Topeka. Corman said a deciding factor was that ASAI hired retired U.S. archivist John Fawcett as a consultant on the project.
-- Matt Gowen's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail address is email@example.com.