Kansas City Art Institute Breaks Ground on Student Residence Hall and Dining Center

By Aziza Jackson

KANSAS CITY, MO. — The Kansas City Art Institute broke ground on a new student residence hall and dining center earlier this month, officially taking the project off the institution’s wish list.

The facility was designed by Doug Stockman and Alissa Wehmueller of Helix Architecture + Design, based in Kansas City, Mo., and Christopher Carvell of Christopher Carvell Architects based in Denver.

Kansas City-based JE Dunn Construction is the general contractor for the project. JE Dunn Project Executive David Young said that the target completion date is December of 2019, with a goal of occupancy for the spring semester of 2020.

“The entire JE Dunn team was excited to break ground on the Kansas City Art Institute residence hall and dining center in July of 2018,” said Young.

“This new student center will include a new residence hall in addition to the Wylie Dining Center and the Café Nerman. It will be a wonderful place for students to relax, engage and dine from a wide range of healthy menu options.”

According to KCUR 89.3, officials at the Art Institute have estimated construction costs at over $25 million.

“The last time we did this was 1968 when we built that,” said KCAI President Tony Jones to KCUR 89.3 while pointing to the current residence hall. “To say that it’s a little bit out of date… would be an understatement.”

KCUR 89.3 reports that Jones said the old dorm will be repurposed for academic space, and a “brand new living center” will be created to better fit the needs of contemporary students in art, design, craft, and technology.

“Not just as a place for students to be able to rest after the labors of the day, but also they’re going to be able to dine. And they’re going to be working in new studios,” he said. “This is an initiative that we call sewing — sleep, eat, work.”

Located in Kansas City, KCAI is a private, independent four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with 13 studio majors. Founded in 1885, KCAI is Kansas City’s oldest arts organization.

The new facility will house a 244-bed residence hall, the Wylie Dining Center, and the Nerman Café. The residence hall features double-occupancy semi-suites with private baths and gathering spaces, and a student gallery, large living room and gaming center.

“The contemporary student coming to KCAI to study deserves the best possible living space and the residence hall will be exactly what the students and their parents want – a home that is comfortable, relaxing and safe, with high connectivity,” said Jones. “After a day of working in the studio, they can return to a supportive community and a place they can make their own.”

A report from KCUR 89.3 contributed to this story.