Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

$2.5 million Lied Center expansion planned

The Lied Center will undergo a $2.5M expansion to improve the lobby, education pavilion and offices. The Lied Center is located on KU's West Campus.

The Lied Center will undergo a $2.5M expansion to improve the lobby, education pavilion and offices. The Lied Center is located on KU's West Campus.

October 6, 2009, 9:17 a.m. Updated October 6, 2009, 4:46 p.m.


Lied Center expansion plans set

KU's Lied Center is set for a multi-million dollar expansion, and officials are excited about the venue's possibilities. Enlarge video

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.


sad_lawrencian 8 years ago

They should use that money to renovate Murphy Hall... if any building on the KU campus is in need of renovation... Murphy Hall is it.

hail2oldku 8 years ago

Sorry sad, but why would the Lied Foundation donate money to renovate Murphy Hall?

Murphy does need some work, but the Lied Center is now the place for performances on campus and it could definitely benefit from the expansions being outlined.

ohgeeze 8 years ago

I kinda liked Murphy the way it is....

Danimal 8 years ago

Good for the Lied Center, it's a nice venue. On Murphy Hall, they need to build the fountain that was supposed to go in front of the new addition.

ralphralph 8 years ago

I always have thought, "If only the lobby was bigger ..."

hometownhawk 8 years ago

ralphralph is cranky because he missed nap time.

Evan Ridenour 8 years ago

This is actually pretty darn necessary. I have been in attendance at the Lied Center many a time when their was a storm occurring at the end of the performance and the lobby is not big enough to handle that. In fact, it really isn't big enough to handle a normal crowd in there and the lack of a covered area for the main exterior doors is ridiculous.

KU_cynic 8 years ago

Perhaps they'll create a nice area for the Fred Phelps crazies to congregate more comfortably. Their obnoxious presence and mostly mediocre Lied Center programming are why I no longer am a Friend of The Lied.

Stuart Evans 8 years ago

they seem to be doing ok without you cynic.

Kash_Encarri 8 years ago

Those shows probably weren't so mediocre when cynic got in for free. (S)he is probably still bitter about losing that little perk last year.

KU_cynic 8 years ago

My disengagement with the Lied Center pre-dates the end of faculty discounts.

And yes, the seats I've vacated can now be had by somebody else whose tastes run to what I consider to be mediocre live entertainment. Viva la difference.

booze_buds_03 8 years ago

Did you read the article machiavelli, or are your reading comprehension skills that of a 1st grader?

The money was donated for that purpose by the Lied Foundation. KU cannot then just decide to spend it on something else....moron

jafs 8 years ago


The money is said to come from the Lied Foundation, not the state or federal government.

Joel Hood 8 years ago

MM - you must be a troll. No one is that stupid.

beawolf 8 years ago

KU_cynic (Anonymous) says…

"And yes, the seats I've vacated can now be had by somebody else whose tastes run to what I consider to be mediocre live entertainment.".....

And what do you consider to be an enjoyable evening of live entertainment? A night at "All-Stars"?

Oh, and thanks for the tickets. I'm looking forward to enjoying the Cyprus String Quartet.

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