UMKC’s new Student Union opens Aug. 20

Environmentally-friendly building features green roof terrace with views of Country Club Plaza

With a student body of approximately 14,500 and continuously increasing enrollment, students have outgrown the University of Missouri-Kansas City‘s (UMKC) University Center. To support increasing enrollment and UMKC’s transformation into a residential campus, the 109,000-square-foot new Student Union will open on Friday, Aug. 20 – a few days before classes begin on Aug. 23.

Located near UMKC’s residential halls at 51st and Cherry Streets, the $38.3 million Student Union features a green roof terrace and wide floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Country Club Plaza, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and UMKC’s Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium and Recreational Field. Anticipated to obtain LEED Silver certification, the facility features public transportation access, storm water control, natural lighting, skylights, high ceilings, a central stairway and a multipurpose area that is divisible into four rooms.

Other features include:

  • A food court with four dining venues chosen by students – Chick-fil-A Express, Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, SubConnection and Jazzman’s Cafe & Bakery with a performance stage area
  • A two-story bookstore
  • 10,000 square-feet of space dedicated to student organizations
  • 329-seat theater
  • 6,300-square-foot multi-purpose area
  • Three-story open skylit central stairway

The Student Union project was funded through $1 million in private funds, $500,000 in campus reserves and $36.8 million in revenue bonds. The debt will be serviced through student fees approved by students in a November 2007 referendum.

“The new Student Union was brought to campus by our students, for our students,” said Mel Tyler, UMKC vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management. “This is an exciting project that will provide all students a place to call their own and is a major milestone in achieving UMKC’s goal of placing student success at the center of all we do.”

Using the design-build approach, McCownGordon worked with architecture firm Gould Evans to design and build the four-story Student Union. Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design alumni contributed to the design of the new Student Union, as well.

“The Student Union will provide an anchor of excitement located just adjacent to the residential halls and the Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium and Recreational Field,” said Nick Clark, School of Medicine student and Student Union building designs and operations student chair. “It will foster a ‘home-away-from-home’ feel for those living on campus, but will facilitate much-needed interaction with non-residential students, as well.”

The UMKC University Center, which was built in 1961 for a student population of 3,600, will continue to offer meeting space, Dining Services, a barber shop, campus information center and student service offices, including One Card, Pre-Health and Pre-Med Medical Advising, Services for Students with Disabilities and MindBody Connection.

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. Celebrating 75 years, 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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