Development

Cerner offers a glimpse of new south KC campus, unveils its new name

Construction of the first phase of the new 290-acre south Kansas City Cerner campus continues. To be called Innovations, the campus will be dedicated to engineers and is designed to have a tech company feel. The two buildings of the first phase are expected to open in 2017. When all 10 buildings are complete, it is expected to house 16,000 employees.
Construction of the first phase of the new 290-acre south Kansas City Cerner campus continues. To be called Innovations, the campus will be dedicated to engineers and is designed to have a tech company feel. The two buildings of the first phase are expected to open in 2017. When all 10 buildings are complete, it is expected to house 16,000 employees. jtoyoshiba@kcstar.com

The new $4.45 billion Cerner campus in south Kansas City finally has a name.

Cerner executives settled on Innovations for what has been called the Trails campus located at the former Bannister Mall, near Interstate 435. The name, formally unveiled Monday, stemmed from surveys, focus groups and company input.

Construction on the first two towers of the sprawling 290-acre, 10-building campus is on schedule to finish at the end of the year. About 3,000 employees, mostly software engineers, will move in at the start of 2017.

Cerner chief operating officer Mike Nill led members of the media on a tour of the building last week. In March, the company marked a milestone in the project with a topping-out ceremony.

Nill said the name Innovations promotes the culture the health care information technology company is trying to develop. The engineers will be tasked with developing ideas for the future. A patent wall in the ground-floor lobby will feature plaques for each of the company’s patents. The lobby will connect the two towers.

Cerner has 344 patents to date.

“It will remind associates that innovation is crucial,” Nill said.

The campus will eventually support 16,000 workers. There will be a fitness center, a wellness clinic and a dining hall on site.

Cerner’s engineers will move into the buildings, so it’s designed with them in mind. Nill said he wants the facility to feel like a tech company. Key quotes from the company’s founders will be encoded in binary code that will be engraved in a staircase off the ground-floor lobby.

J.E. Dunn is constructing the 4.7 million-square-foot complex. The entire project is expected to take 10 years. Cerner says it’s the largest economic development project in Missouri’s history.

The buildings were designed to be flexible, so employees can reconfigure spaces to meet their needs.

“We expect our engineers to be agile and adaptable,” Nill said. “We want to incorporate that into the work environment.”

You won’t find lines of cubicles in these Cerner office buildings. Nill said the furniture can be reconfigured on a daily basis, depending on what the engineers need. He expects each floor to have a different feel.

“They’ll instill their own personality” in each floor, Nill said. “Our engineers are excited. They can’t wait to get over here.”

Throughout the buildings, there are lots of different spaces to give employees a change of pace. Nill showed off two features that will be unique to Cerner — the neighborhood nodes and Collaboratorium.

The neighborhood nodes will help employees move from one floor to another. Each will also have its own purpose, from a library to a game room to a maker’s space. Nill said he doesn’t want this to be a cookie-cutter-esque office building.

The Collaboratorium will have stadiumlike seating and be used for formal meetings and as a gathering place for employees. The space will connect the third and fourth floors.

The Cerner campus is expected to attract commercial retail and invigorate the surrounding area.

When finished, the campus will be Cerner’s seventh in the Kansas City area outside of the company’s North Kansas City headquarters.

Katherine Knott: 816-234-4097, @knott_katherine

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