Kansas University School of Business is definitely not in Summerfield anymore.
Construction is now complete on the school’s new home, the $70.5 million Capitol Federal Hall on Naismith Drive across from Allen Fieldhouse. When employees move in later this month and students begin summer classes June 7, they will decidedly leave behind the long narrow hallways, closed doors and low ceilings of circa-1960 Summerfield Hall.
Capitol Federal Hall’s design centers on openness.
School leaders say that’s for function, not just looks.
Classrooms, meeting rooms, collaborative spaces and key offices feature floor-to-ceiling glass, either overlooking the outdoors or the interior atrium that soars from the ground level to the fourth and top floor.
Capitol Federal Hall
View a gallery of photos from a tour of Capitol Federal Hall, Kansas University's new School of Business.
In addition to the large common area in the atrium, a living room-like “entrepreneurship incubator” and an open-air TA help area, the new building has smaller clusters of seating throughout the hallways and around the building’s exterior. There also are centers where students will be able to get coaching on writing concisely for business and giving effective oral presentations.
“The building just features so many collaborative learning spaces that will foster interaction between disciplines, and also give our School of Business students space to work together on projects,” School of Business chief of staff Kelly Watson Muther said. “To see that happening within our own building, I think that will be really special.”
Other features include:
• Spaces specifically designed to help students get jobs. The first-floor advising suite includes a hallway of small conference rooms for on-site job interviews, waiting areas and a lounge for the corporate recruiters who may spend entire days on campus.
• A green roof on a portion of the building outside the dean’s office. The green roof is actually planted mostly with red sedum, which the donor enabling it envisioned as “a fun play on KU’s red roofs,” School of Business communications director Austin Falley said.
• A 65-piece original art collection. The artwork, predominantly by KU alumni and faculty, was selected by a specially appointed committee and purchased by the School of Business through a donation of about $500,000, Falley said.
• On the first floor, visible from the exterior through a glass wall, a large-scale installation of “Wall Drawing 519” by Sol LeWitt, a loan from KU’s Spencer Museum of Art.
• An antique book collection, given by a donor, on display in the dean’s suite reception area.
• The McCarthy Applied Portfolio Management Finance Lab, which will house two Bloomberg Terminals and also features an electronic stock ticker.
• A lounge for undergraduate honors students.
• 20 classrooms, including a 350-seat auditorium, a 125-seat classroom and several others with capacities around 60 to 80 students.
KU had a groundbreaking ceremony for Capitol Federal Hall in October 2013. The 166,500-square-foot building was funded entirely by donors.
The new building also is hoped to help recruit the best students and faculty, said Jim Guthrie, associate dean of academic affairs.
Human capital may be more important than buildings, Guthrie said, but having a vibrant place to study or work factors in to people’s decisions — and they have options.
“The people make the place, right? But the place, it’s not unimportant,” Guthrie said. “When you have a place that is not aligned or does not meet your aspirations, it’s not helpful. And I think we were there.”
Capitol Federal Hall isn’t “opulent” — it has industrial finishes, with lots of concrete and rust-colored steel exposed — but it is light, bright, open and outfitted with the latest technology, Guthrie said.
The building is not yet open, and he’s already having trouble keeping faculty and students out.
“It’s nice to have an energetic place just buzzing with activity and students, and that building will be that way,” he said.
Public open house
A public grand opening for Capitol Federal Hall is set for 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at the new building, 1654 Naismith Drive. After Monday's event, the building will not reopen again until June 7, when faculty and staff have moved in and KU summer classes begin.