UMKC hires Helix Architecture + Design, Integra Realty Resources and HGA Architects and Engineers to complete a feasibility study for a downtown UMKC arts campus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The University of Missouri-Kansas City has hired Helix Architecture + Design, Integra Realty Resources and HGA Architects and Engineers to complete a feasibility study for a downtown UMKC arts campus. The firms will develop a preliminary program and cost estimate for the project, look at potential downtown properties, develop site and concept plans and gather feedback from UMKC and the community over the next several months.

After considering several architectural firms, UMKC chose Helix Architecture + Design and HGA because of their design leadership and national expertise in visual and performing arts facilities for colleges and universities. Recent projects by Helix include a proposed rehearsal and education wing for the Lied Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Kansas, the renovation of historic Kansas City landmarks such as the Midland Theatre and AMC’s Mainstreet Theatre and the modernization of the Richard Bolling Federal Building, a national award-winning project located in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

Among HGA’s recent projects are the Performance Center at Napa Valley College in Napa, Calif.; the Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University-Northridge; Uptown Performance & Visual Arts Campus at Columbus State University Riverpark in Columbus, Ga.; and the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center under renovation at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.

One of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s “Big 5” ideas, the UMKC arts campus idea would relocate the Conservatory of Music and Dance, and potentially other arts programs such as the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, KCUR 89.3 FM and UMKC Theatre program to a new downtown location, reinforcing the university’s missions to advance urban engagement and excel in the visual and performing arts. With the recent grand openings of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity, civic and university leaders agree that a UMKC arts campus would enrich a growing arts district. In line with the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation’s 2005 “Time to Get It Right” report – which said the arts are essential to attracting the young, talented professionals Kansas City needs to flourish – the UMKC arts campus could bring as many as 1,000 students, faculty and staff downtown each week.

“We are intrigued by the public’s interest in having a downtown performing arts campus,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “We want to conduct our due diligence to make sure that this is in the best interest of our students, the University and the Kansas City community.”

“Having worked extensively in Kansas City’s downtown and Crossroads neighborhoods, the opportunity to help UMKC explore the idea of a downtown arts campus is a great way for Helix to contribute to the university’s evolution,” said Jay Tomlinson, founding principal of Helix Architecture + Design. “With our partners at HGA and Integra Realty Resources, we look forward to serving the Conservatory of Music, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and possibly other programs as we dream about and plan this new urban campus.”

Concurrent with the feasibility study, the university will be conducting an independent economic impact study to investigate how a UMKC arts campus could complement investments in other arts facilities and help small businesses emerge. With the help of Wellington “Duke” Reiter – who previously served as president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and dean of the College of Design at Arizona State University – UMKC also will examine how a downtown arts campus could affect academic, campus and social life at Kansas City’s downtown/Crossroads areas and UMKC’s Volker and Hospital Hill campuses.

If the feasibility study proves the UMKC arts campus to be a worthwhile investment, funding will rely almost exclusively on local revenue streams.

About Helix Architecture + Design:

Founded in 1992, Helix Architecture + Design is a premier architecture and design firm located in downtown Kansas City, Mo. Helix specializes in projects that wisely reuse resources, transform culture and create a positive and lasting legacy for their communities. For more information, visit

About Integra Realty Resources:

Integra Realty Resources, Inc. provides world-class commercial real estate valuation, counseling, and advisory services. Routinely ranked among leading property valuation and consulting firms, Integra has more than 60 offices across the U.S.

About HGA:

HGA is an integrated architecture, engineering and planning firm that helps prepare its clients for the future. With offices in Minneapolis and Rochester, Minn.; Milwaukee; Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif.; and Washington, D.C., the nationally recognized firm has developed expertise in the healthcare, corporate, arts, community, higher education and science/technology industries since 1953. HGA’s culture for interdisciplinary collaboration, knowledge sharing and design investigation enables its clients to achieve success with responsive, innovative and sustainable design. For more information, visit

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City:

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 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. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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