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Here’s what KU’s new Central District student union and science building will look like
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.
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.”
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.
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.
• McCarthy Hall (looks-wise, this stone apartment building is an exception)
— 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.