A major expansion is planned for Kansas University’s Lied Center.
A $2.5 million gift from the Lied Foundation will fund expansion of Lied Center’s lobby, construction of an education pavilion, creation of additional office space and installation of displays about the history of Ernst F. Lied and the Lied Foundation Trust.
Tim Van Leer, executive director of the Lied Center, said the expansions would enhance the existing functions at the building, and would allow the Lied Center to pursue new programs.
“This is the kind of thing that causes us to be just thrilled about the potential for the future,” Van Leer said.
The 1,800-square-foot lobby expansion frees up space around the existing concession stand and restrooms, he said. The expanded lobby space had been planned in the building’s original design, but was later scaled back, he said.
The educational pavilion will serve as a multi-purpose space that could be used for educational activities, rehearsal space and pre-performance dinners, Van Leer said. That space had been planned as part of a larger Lied Center expansion in 2005 that would have included an 800-seat auditorium. Those plans were scrapped after a fundraising campaign failed to raise enough money for the project.
The new 60-foot by 40-foot pavilion will roughly match the area of the existing stage, Van Leer said, making it ideal for rehearsals. The room will installed over an existing outdoor garden, which will be moved to accommodate the new addition.
Van Leer said the Lied Center would remain open throughout construction, and that tentative plans called for construction to begin in the spring, and to be completed by 2011.
The plans will be submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents at its Oct. 14 and 15 meeting.
The performing arts facility located on KU’s west campus opened in 1993 after a $10 million gift from the Lied Foundation Trust — a gift that, at the time, was the largest in KU’s history.
The educational displays on the foundation and Lied would likely be placed on the walls of the new spaces, Van Leer said.
The Lied Foundation was established by Ernst F. Lied, who owned a car dealership in Omaha, Neb., and invested in Las Vegas real estate. Its sole trustee is Christina Hixson, a longtime associate of Lied’s. The foundation has also donated $3.1 million for Lied Center outreach programming, $5 million for student scholarships and $1.5 million for medical research.