Honors College, Criminal Justice, Philosophy Host Grand Opening of New Space
University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty, staff and students filed into Cherry Hall Nov. 2 and headed toward the fourth floor, not sure what to expect.
Upon arrival, they found a beautifully renovated, wide-open new space that had been vacant for nearly seven years. The top floor of the former dormitory, constructed in 1955, is now home to the Honors College, the Department of Philosophy, and the department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.
During the grand opening ceremonies, Philosophy Department Chair Bruce Bubacz thought back to when UMKC – Kansas City University at the time – began in 1933, and questioned whether anyone would have imagined then where the university would be today. A faculty member since 1973, Bubacz has witnessed substantial growth on the UMKC campus, including the naturally- and LED-lit fourth floor of Cherry Hall.
Honors College students Ben Ganz (pre-med, junior) and Katie Lacombe (art and psychology, senior) are excited about having a convenient home for studying and other honors student needs. Although Ganz has seen the progress of the fourth floor renovation as a work in progress, he and Lacombe shared an enthusiasm that the newly established Honors College finally had a home.
Thrilled that the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology has a new space where faculty can be proud to meet with community partners, Department Chair Kristi Holsinger said she couldn’t express thanks enough to everyone involved in making this project happen.
“This is a mission-critical experience,” explained Honors College Dean James McKusick, adding that the fourth floor will be open well into the evening to allow students a place to study or congregate. “This space isn’t just for honors students, it’s for all students.”
Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Sharon Lindenbaum called the renovation project the culmination of vision, leadership, and hard work of many people:
Bob Simmons, Associate Vice Chancellor for Administration, provided leadership throughout the $1.2 million project.
Planning and oversight was provided by the Facilities Planning and Construction team, which includes Jeff Vandel, Director of Planning, Design & Construction; Chad Bristow, Construction Project Manager; and Melanie Earhart, Interior Design Associate.
The outstanding architectural design was carried out by the International Architects Atelier, a Kansas City-based, world-class architectural firm. Architect Dirk Henke explained his design concept of opening up the space, which previously looked very much like a dormitory, to make it more inviting. They knocked down walks, renovated rooms into offices and created a more energy-efficient environment complete with plenty of glass. The fourth floor of Cherry Hall is both modern and youthful.
“We love this space,” exclaimed Holsinger.
If you have not visited the fourth floor, you’re in for a plush treat. Deans and department chairs encourage everyone to stop by and check it out.
Kelsey Haynes | Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications