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Kansas City Art Institute's New Student Housing Expected To Be 'State Of The Art'

Helix Architecture + Design, Inc.
A rendering of the Kansas City Art Institute's new student residence hall along Warwick Boulevard, south of the campus gates.

The Kansas City Art Institute broke ground on new student housing Thursday across the street from the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. 

"The last time we did this was 1968 when we built that," said Art Institute president Tony Jones, pointing to the current residence hall. "To say that it's a little bit out of date ... would be an understatement." 

The old dorm will be repurposed for academic space, said Jones, 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." 

Credit Helix Architecture + Design
Helix Architecture + Design
The dining center and cafe are sited along Warwick right next to the Art Institute's main gate to invite the public on campus.

The new building, designed by Kansas City-based Helix Architecture + Design, will house about 250 students. Plans call for a student gallery, a gaming center — and a dining center and café that will be open to the public.

"We want the neighborhood to be proud of what we've done here and we want the neighborhood to come," said Jones. 

The residence hall and dining center are slated for completion in late 2019 or early 2020. Art Institute officials estimate construction costs at more than $25 million.

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter at @lauraspencer.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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