Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design is getting a major upgrade. In September, the school officially broke ground on a $75 million project to renovate and expand Seaton Hall and nearby Seaton Court. When complete in fall 2017, the new complex will total 194,000-square-feet and be replete with workshops, meeting spaces, and state-of-the-art classrooms for the school’s renowned architecture program.
In an interview, Tim DeNoble, dean of the college, said the goal is turn the sprawling, aging complex — some parts of the building date back to the early 1900s — into a crucible for design and construction in Kansas and the entire region. He said the project is important for Manhattan and the university, but also key to Kansas City’s architecture community. He said about a third of the school’s students come from the Kansas City area and an estimated 35% of the program’s graduates end up working in Kansas City, too.
A number of Kansas City firms are contributing to the project, DeNoble said. Kansas City-based general contractor JE Dunn Construction is the construction manager at-risk. Kansas City-based architecture firms BNIM and El Dorado Inc. are working alongside New York-based firm Ennead Architects LLP and Des Moines-based firm Confluence to provide design services for the project.
The complex will include about 85,000 square feet of renovated spaces and 110,000 square feet of new spaces. Naturally, the design will be reflective of the school’s values — DeNoble said that quality was lacking from the older building — and feature facilities that prepare students for employment in the industry.
For the first time, DeNoble said, the college will have a 300-seat auditorium of its own that can play host to lecture classes and presentations by leading minds in the field. The college’s library will be moved from a remote location to a central, inviting location near the main entrance. Design and fabrication workshops and the college’s support spaces, once scattered around the complex, will be placed together.