Archive for Thursday, May 12, 2016

A look inside Capitol Federal Hall, KU School of Business’ new home

Public open house planned Monday for just-completed $70.5 million building on Naismith Drive

The new Kansas University School of Business, Capitol Federal Hall is pictured Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

The new Kansas University School of Business, Capitol Federal Hall is pictured Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

May 12, 2016


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.

The atrium at Capitol Federal Hall viewed from the second, left, and fourth floors on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

The atrium at Capitol Federal Hall viewed from the second, left, and fourth floors on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. by Nick Krug

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.”

A collaborative space on the second floor of Capitol Federal Hall on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

A collaborative space on the second floor of Capitol Federal Hall on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. by Nick Krug

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.

Wall Drawing 519 by artist Sol LeWitt extends along a hallway on the first floor of Captiol Federal Hall.

Wall Drawing 519 by artist Sol LeWitt extends along a hallway on the first floor of Captiol Federal Hall.

• 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.

A classroom at Capitol Federal Hall.

A classroom at Capitol Federal Hall. by Nick Krug

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.

Contact KU and higher ed reporter Sara Shepherd
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Kate Rogge 1 year, 6 months ago

I think it is disgraceful to have a university building named for a corporation.

April Baker 1 year, 6 months ago

Typically the names of buildings have to do with substantial gifts made toward said building.

April Baker 1 year, 6 months ago

Yeah, turning down millions in donations is a good idea! That will really convince the state that the school can't afford any more cuts...............................

Kate Rogge 1 year, 6 months ago

Non-academic buildings - like those associated with the Student Union, Allen Fieldhouse, alumni association and, of course, the Lied Center - may, and perhaps should, have the family names of big private donors, but academic buildings like the KU School of Business should not be an advertisement for corporate donors. That's a first for KU, don't you think? Why are corporations allowed to buy such influence at the University of Kansas?

April Baker 1 year, 6 months ago

So KU should accept donations from families that made their money creating massive businesses and corporations just not the business itself? Makes sense....

Kate Rogge 1 year, 6 months ago

KU should be a university and not a corporate billboard. Rich families who made their money creating businesses and corporations are welcome to donate, but putting their corporate business name on any KU building is inappropriate. UMKC has buildings and schools funded by rich donors, but their names are Henry W. Bloch School of Management (not H&R Block Inc.) and the Miller-Nichols Library (not J.C. Nichols Inc.). If you can't see a difference between putting the family name of whoever owns Capital Federal or putting the corporation's business name on a university's school or building, then I'd guess my objections don't make sense to you.

Thomas Sadler 1 year, 6 months ago

I'd be willing to bet that John Dicus was not keen on having his name on the building, although I'm sure their Board of Directors would have had no problem with it being Dicus Hall. I'm not really that thrilled about it being named Capitol Federal either. But given that they are one of the most philanthropic and ethical businesses in the state, and the fact that the legislature is doing everything they can to strip funding from higher education, what real choice does KU have?

Would you rather it be named Koch School of Business?

Kate Rogge 1 year, 6 months ago

How about Facebook Hall? Is that really the same as the Mark Zukerberg Hall? Is Pizza Hut Hall the same as Frank Carney Hall? What about PepsiCo Hall? Dow Chemical Hall? WalMart Hall? I don't like the Koch brothers, but a Charles G. Koch Hall beats Koch Industries Inc. Hall. What we name things matters when it comes to naming them at a public university, even when it is the KU School of Business. KU had a choice.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 6 months ago

Don't make sense to me either. Here's a company doing something good for the University and here you are denigrating the effort. Who cares? Obviously, you aren't going to be a business major.

Jean Robart 1 year, 6 months ago

I agree with you, Kate. I am really glad I only had my account at Capped for a very short time when I lived in Lawrence. I would hate to think that depositors' money was paying for that hall.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

I guess the name and construction are paid for by fees and interest rates .....

Jean Robart 1 year, 6 months ago

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at the party the night before they drew up the plans for this monstrosity.

David Holroyd 1 year, 6 months ago

I hope KU keeps it in better repair than Anschutz and Budig Hall has been. As for the "beauty" of the building. If it is truly ugly, fear not the Bus Hub and parking garage will be a twin!

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