Rockhurst University to Construct New Academic Building June 24, 2013

The Rockhurst University board of trustees has given the university the green light to break ground for a new academic building in March 2014.

Construction is expected to take 18 months, making the building ready for occupancy in time for the fall 2015 semester.

The building will be constructed in what now is a parking lot south of the iconic bell tower, near the center of the 55-acre campus. It will replace the heavily trafficked historic Sedgwick Hall, which eventually will be remodeled to accommodate university administrative offices.

The board voted to authorize construction at its regularly scheduled meeting, Friday, June 21.

“From an educational standpoint, we’re excited to offer the latest technology in instructional delivery,” said Rockhurst University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, “and we’re also excited to continue our investment in this neighborhood where we like to say we are in the city for good.”

The new building is part of a 20-year campus master plan that was developed collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, alumni and neighbors. It was approved by the city as a Master Plan Development district in November 2011.

Efforts to raise $24.5 million by June 2013 were successful, enabling the university to receive a $500,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla. This will allow the university to build the first phase of the project, a 68,000-square foot building to house classrooms and faculty offices. Design features will be incorporated to reflect “wisdom,” one of the university’s six core values.

 “We’re still working hard to raise support for phase two of our project, an addition that would convert a 500-seat auditorium into a theater with production facilities to accommodate campus and community events,” said Bob Grant, vice president of university advancement. “Ideally we will have the go-ahead for the second phase of the project in March when we break ground.”

Phase two costs are estimated at $8 million, bringing the project total to $33 million. Gould Evans is the architect and JE Dunn Construction will be the general contractor.

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