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Here’s what KU’s new Central District student union and science building will look like

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With this post, I think I now will have shared with you at some point or another images of all the main new buildings that are up or will go up in Kansas University’s Central District, and around the perimeter of it.

The latest images, which I requested from KU Memorial Unions, are of the new Central District student union and next-door integrated science building. They will be constructed just west of where the Burge Union stood; the 280,000-square-foot science building will be on Irving Hill Road, with the 30,000-square-foot union between it and Anschutz Sports Pavilion. They’re slated for completion in summer 2018, in time to open for fall 2018 classes.

One observation about the look of the Central District: A lot of new buildings going up at once it is, architectural variety it isn’t.

Not that I actually expected any stone buildings with grotesques, owls and relief sculpture — à la Dyche, Spooner and Twente halls in KU’s historic district along Jayhawk Boulevard. (I wonder how much it would cost to duplicate a building like Dyche these days, assuming you could even find capable stone carvers? Hey, we old building nerds can always daydream about them making a comeback.)

But while the new buildings may not feature the artistry and variety of the buildings up on the Hill, the Central District’s modern, boxy and glass-heavy style does offer a major benefit those older ones do not: lots of natural light and open spaces. The new union and science building will follow suit.

This rendering shows what Kansas University's new Central District student union (at left) and integrated science building are planned to look like. Both buildings, located on Irving Hill Road just west of where the recently razed Burge Union stood, are expected to open in time for fall 2018 classes.

This rendering shows what Kansas University's new Central District student union (at left) and integrated science building are planned to look like. Both buildings, located on Irving Hill Road just west of where the recently razed Burge Union stood, are expected to open in time for fall 2018 classes.

An underground path will connect the science building and the union, KU Memorial Unions director David Mucci said. Above ground, the Jayhawk Trail will pass through a green space between the two buildings. Glass-walled buildings are hoped to encourage science building students, teachers and conference-goers or other visitors to come and go freely.

“We expect people to be moving across that corridor,” Mucci said. “The idea is to make them inviting and open to each other.”

This rendering shows how the interior new Central District student union, being constructed to replace Burge Union, may appear.

This rendering shows how the interior new Central District student union, being constructed to replace Burge Union, may appear.

This rendering shows how the interior new Central District student union, being constructed to replace Burge Union, may appear.

This rendering shows how the interior new Central District student union, being constructed to replace Burge Union, may appear.

Central District plans also call for a nearby parking garage. Mucci said that will go up just southwest of the union, and a covered walkway will lead from the garage into the union.

The 1979 Burge Union was razed in late spring. In addition to a ballroom and other meeting rooms, plans call for the new Central District union to house Legal Services for Students, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center, the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity, a Reflection Room for prayer and meditation, a coffee shop, convenience store and lounge space.

The Burge Union, shown on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, is slated to be razed and rebuilt and part of Kansas University's Central District redevelopment plans.

The Burge Union, shown on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, is slated to be razed and rebuilt and part of Kansas University's Central District redevelopment plans. by Nick Krug

In case you’ve missed past stories, here’s a roundup of other new or coming-soon buildings in and around the Central District. Click them to read more and see pictures.

Central District residence hall and apartment complex

Earth, Energy and Environment Center (Lots more images are on KU's website, here)

Capitol Federal Hall

DeBruce Center

McCarthy Hall (looks-wise, this stone apartment building is an exception)

LEEP2

• Oswald and Self residence halls


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at KUToday.com. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

Comments

Tracy Bedell 1 year, 5 months ago

Whoever designed this portion of the Central District must have licked lead paint as a child. I witnessed and have video of workers bulldozing over perfectly healthy trees in order to make the "green space". On what planet do you kill healthy trees to make a green space? It is very sad to me that there was no planning. Also, the parking situation is deplorable. Not well designed or executed. KU should be ashamed of how they have conducted this project.

Dozing trees to make a green space. SMH

Dozing trees to make a green space. SMH by notreallyhere

Kevin Kelly 1 year, 5 months ago

The squirrels and rabbits (and other critters) have moved south, believe me. The tree destruction happened south of 19th St on Ousdahl as well. We needed better access to our neighborhood, it's for our own good.

How much will the parking spots COST at the new garage? I am willing to bet the spots will be reserved on basketball game night for a special event at an even higher rate.

Tracy Bedell 1 year, 5 months ago

I am not a granola swigging tree hugger by any means. I think, however, that having trees are also for our own good.

David Holroyd 1 year, 5 months ago

The City of Lawrence destroys trees regularly downtown on Mass! Go look!

William Pilgrim 1 year, 5 months ago

Embarrassing. Accomplishes none of the promised goals.

Just a replacement of the building they tore down, which was avoided by everyone on campus. Expect more of the same, and no tears 30 years from now when these are torn down.

Bob Hiller 1 year, 5 months ago

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. Martin Luther Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/trees.html

David Holroyd 1 year, 5 months ago

have to keep the construction projects going and not only that....up the image of the university..after all who wants to live in an old dorm and share a room and not have a convenient shopping center to get the toilet paper and blue books , oh, and the toothpaste...and the overpriced Coke products...one would think that Coca Cola would chip in some money since they have profitted enormously from KU....maybe like a renaming of the Student Union to the COKE Center.

Jillian Andrews 1 year, 5 months ago

You do realize that new building is paid for by endowments to the university, not by tax payer dollars, right?

Kevin Kelly 1 year, 5 months ago

Doesn't matter where the money was routed from. If your kids need shoes it's a little embarrassing and gluttonous to be building new rooms on to your house.

Jillian Andrews 1 year, 5 months ago

Evidently you don't understand how budgets and funding work. You can't just use funding wherever you want to...

Kevin Kelly 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't care where the funding comes from or who made the budget. I think it is embarrassing the University is building while the Kansas kids that the University was created to educate can't afford to go to the school. Maybe the funding and budgets are wrong?

Mike Green 1 year, 5 months ago

Endowments, and the interest they generate, fund universities. The donation to the endowment is a tax deduction which increases others load, when the endowment is spent down, interest income is lost, and operating expenses for buildings like these are in the millions. Tuition goes up when you see all the cranes.

Ralph Gage 1 year, 5 months ago

What is happening to the recognition of Frank Burge as this rebuilding of the student union takes place?

David Holroyd 1 year, 5 months ago

Mr. Gage, revisionist history will be at work with the new student union..kinda like Green Hall which is now Lippincott Hall...maybe Frank Burge will have his name inside on meeting room...it makes too much sense to keep the Burge Union name...even David Mucci won't tell me.. But back to Lippincott Hall and the other buildings on campus..have you noticed the fancy signs with a name but no explanation why the name? May as well be Bldg ! Bldg 2 You see how hard is it to provide a couple lines of "history" along with the building name... like Lippincott was Chancellor ....... and the building was built and named Green hall...after all the statute is still in front..the current law school building could have been named after paul Wilson a well liked an scholarly law professor..long forgotten...sadly.

Mr. Gage,,,,maybe Mr. Dolph Simons could take up the issue of the naming of the student union building to be built in the Central District shopping center and luxury housing complex.

Kevin Kelly 1 year, 5 months ago

Can't KU mix interesting, thought provoking architecture with money making? I guess a box fits the bill. Maybe I hold the bar too high looking for a little planning and imagination. Should have asked the students for building design and landscaping help. Function and no Form.

Clara Westphal 1 year, 5 months ago

Most of the buildings KU has built lately are much bigger than they need to be. Just another box building with lots of glass.

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