Park University is branching out to Lenexa this fall.
The Parkville university, which has an annual enrollment of 17,000 students on campuses and online around the world, plans to open a campus center at the Lenexa City Center inside the new City Hall building, just west of 87th Street Parkway and Interstate 435.
Park plans to begin operations in the Lenexa location in July, with classes starting Aug. 14.
“For 141 years we have viewed the Kansas City metro area as our flagship home,” said Park President Greg Gunderson. Park currently has 40 campus centers across the U.S., of which 33 are on military installations.
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In this area, in addition to the main campus in Parkville, campus centers are open in Independence and downtown Kansas City.
“One area of the metro that we have not served well is the Lenexa, Overland Park part of the city,” Gunderson said. The move into Johnson County, he said, “helps us round out our presence in the metro area.”
Gunderson and Lenexa Mayor Michael Boehm signed official documents on the deal during a Lenexa City Council meeting on Tuesday.
“The city of Lenexa’s community-wide planning document, Vision 2020, envisioned the city joining with a university to offer classes at City Hall,” Boehm said in a statement Wednesday. “We knew this partnership would bring energy to the space, increase our evening population and exhibit our mixed-use vision for City Center.”
Park’s Lenexa campus will encompass 5,000 square feet on the third floor of the new City Hall. There, students will find five classrooms, offices for staff and faculty, a common work space and a kitchen/vending area.
Traditional classes will be available for some degree units as well as online access, said Brad Biles, university spokesman.
Gunderson said the university expects “the campus will yield 100 to 200 students easily.” He said, “The city of Lenexa made a wise choice locating the campus at the City Center. It brings living, work, play and now education in to the space.”
The City Center will feature a new Lenexa Public Market located on the first floor of the building, as well as an adjacent 500-stall parking garage. The City Center Library, which is part of the Johnson County Library system, is set to open there in 2019.