New building for KU engineering students to be named for donors

A new engineering research building on Kansas University’s west campus will be named for a Lee’s Summit, Mo., couple who made a donation to help fund its construction, the KU Endowment Association announced Wednesday.

The building will be called the Hill Engineering Research and Development Center, after Ronald and Sue Hill, who both work for HEMCO, a laboratory equipment manufacturer in Independence, Mo., that Ronald founded with his father in 1958. Ronald is the firm’s president, and Sue is the vice president of customer development.

The Hills requested that the amount of their donation not be disclosed, an Endowment spokeswoman said. The Kansas Board of Regents approved the building’s name Wednesday.

The building is being constructed by one group of KU students — in the Studio 804 program in the School of Architecture, Design and Planning — for another group of students: those in the EcoHawks program in the School of Engineering.

The undergraduate and graduate students in EcoHawks conduct research on sustainable energy, and they’ll use the new building to design and build electric vehicles, work with solar and wind energy and pursue other projects, said Christopher Depcik, an associate professor of mechanical engineering who directs the program.

The Hill Center, under construction now, is set to be completed later this spring.