Now comes the hard part: fitting 170,000 square feet of needed space on an 80,000-square-foot site.
But the Helix/HGA architecture and design team isn’t complaining. It has won the phase one contract to design a new downtown arts campus for the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The team — about 30 architects and engineers from Helix Architecture + Design of Kansas City and HGA of Minneapolis — will design the proposed Conservatory of Music and Dance facilities on the block bounded by 17th and 18th streets and Broadway and Central Street.
The university announced Thursday it expects the concept design to be completed in early 2015.
“Obviously, all the needs don’t fit on one floor,” said Jay Tomlinson, who leads the project at Helix. “So we showed them creative ways to fit all the parts while respecting the neighborhood and the primacy of Kauffman (Center for the Performing Arts) across the street.”
The UMKC site, directly south of the Kauffman Center, was acquired with a $6 million donation assembled through the Downtown Council and anonymous donors.
The full cost of building the first phase of the campus is estimated at $96 million. Planners want to reach the fundraising goal by the end of 2016.
Helix and HGA were selected by a 17-member committee over four other teams: BNIM with Ann Beha Architects, El Dorado Inc. with Ennead Architects, Hoefer Wysocki Architecture with Pfeiffer Partners Architects and International Architects Atelier with Snøhetta. All of the teams presented their concepts to the public Sunday afternoon.
Kansas City-based Helix, with headquarters at 1629 Walnut St., has designed many projects in the Crossroads Arts District between Crown Center and the downtown core. It previously worked with UMKC to convert a building that formerly housed the pharmacy school into its architecture department.
Tomlinson said Helix also has an ongoing project with UMKC to update the existing campus building that holds Spencer Theatre and White Recital Hall. The downtown campus, designed for use by the Conservatory of Music and Dance, will not include performance venues.
The downtown facility will hold practice spaces for the music and dance schools, administrative offices and a music library, he said.
Helix teamed with HGA, a Minneapolis-based architecture, engineering and design firm that specializes in performing arts education, practice and performance studios. Founded in 1953, HGA has offices around the country with more than 600 employees and “has done as many arts buildings for higher education as anyone in the country,” Tomlinson said.
Among HGA’s recent projects are the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.; the Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University in Northridge, Calif.; and Columbus State University’s arts campus in Columbus, Ga.
“The strength of this team includes Helix’s solid reputation and advocacy for UMKC, the Crossroads and the arts in Kansas City coupled with HGA’s strong portfolio of higher education performing arts spaces and deep knowledge of music and dance pedagogy and accreditation standards,” said Bob Simmons, UMKC’s associate vice chancellor for administration.
UMKC also updated its fundraising targets for the project in Thursday’s announcement. The school said it has raised more than $29 million in private gifts, with $19 million still needed to complete its private fundraising goal.
When it reaches $48 million, the university will request matching funds from Missouri through the Higher Education Capital Fund, which was created to match public funds to private gifts.
Planning for the downtown campus was kick-started last year by a $20 million challenge pledge from the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, led by Julia Irene Kauffman. That grant has a three-year deadline.