UMKC and McCownGordon place final beam on UMKC New Student Union

“Topping Out” ceremony takes place Sept. 28

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and McCownGordon Construction plan to place the final beam on UMKC’s $38.3 million New Student Union building on Monday, Sept. 28. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. with cupcakes and refreshments at Cherry and 51st streets in Kansas City, Mo.

Chancellor Leo Morton, University of Missouri System Curator Warren Erdman, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Mel Tyler, UMKC Student Government President Ashley Burress, a Sodexo representative, a McCownGordon representative and a GouldEvans representative will speak at 1:20 p.m., and the beam – decorated with the signatures of students, faculty and staff – will be hoisted into place at 2 p.m.

UMKC students have outgrown the University Center, which was built in 1961 for a student population of 3,600. With UMKC enrollment projected to increase by 20 percent in 2011, the New Student Union will offer 108,300 square feet of space in which students can congregate.

“With an increased student enrollment, more than a thousand students living in nearby residential halls and students spending more time on campus, the New Student Union is a crucial element to campus life at UMKC,” said Mel Tyler, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

Using the design-build approach, McCownGordon is working with architecture firm GouldEvans to design and build the four-story student union. The facility will feature a two-story bookstore, 300-320 seat theater, open areas for student meetings and congregations, coffee shop, food court, retail space, event space, office space for student organizations, game room, garden terrace and parking garage. The New Student Union is projected to be completed for the fall semester 2010.

Designed with sustainability at top of mind, the project is seeking LEED® Silver certification and includes a green roof, pervious pavers on the garden terrace, use of native landscaping, water-efficient fixturing, daylighting and storm water collection.

Earning the project an innovation credit towards the LEED® Silver certification goal, McCownGordon’s “Eco-Friendly Mobile Office Trailer” is being utilized on site. Fully equipped with solar panels, a wind turbine, composting toilet and other sustainable features, the off-grid trailer offers project associates a refreshing alternative to typical jobsite trailers.

“The new facility will offer students an open space to congregate together, and embraces several sustainable design and construction principles,” said Ramin Cherafat, Vice President for McCownGordon Construction. “It will be a building students can be proud of.”

McCownGordon Construction is recognized as one of the largest general contractors in Kansas City and one of the fastest growing companies in the region. Focused on core values of integrity, relationships and performance, McCownGordon is committed to building collaborative partnerships and specializing in construction management, general contracting, design-build and sustainable construction. With strong experience and expertise in a variety of market sectors, the company was voted Kansas City’s General Contractor of the Year in 2009 by the American Subcontractors Association. In 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, the Kansas City Business Journal named McCownGordon among the Best Places to Work in Kansas City. More information about McCownGordon Construction is available at

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).

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