WSU selects architects for new $50M business school building

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Architecture firms from Kansas City and Chicago will pen designs for a new building at Wichita State University that will house the business school.

The university made the announcement Friday in a news release that Kansas City-based GastingerWalker and Gensler Chicago were contracted to design the future home of WSU's Barton School of Business, to be known as Wayne and Kay Woolsey Hall.

The 136,000 square-foot building, expected to cost $50 million, will be built on WSU's Innovation Campus.

Last the WBJ reported, the WSU Foundation has so far collected $30 million in alumni and community donations — including a $250,000 grant from Bank of America — for construction of Woolsey Hall. To fund the remaining $20 million, the university has said it will reallocate other funds from its budget starting in fiscal year 2020. That decision was made after students voted down a referendum to raise student fees for the building's construction.

The two architecture firms were selected by the State Building Advisory Commission, made up of staff from WSU, the WSU Foundation, the Office of Facilities and Property Management and the Kansas Board of Regents, the news release says.

GastingerWalker and Gensler Chicago helped design the $70.5-million business school building at the University of Kansas, Capitol Federal Hall, that opened in 2016.

"The firm and its team have extensive experience within the educational sphere and business buildings in particular," the news release says.

Gensler Chicago is the Chicago-based offices of Gensler, which is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in 48 cities worldwide.

Representatives from the firms will be on campus next week to get feedback from students, faculty and staff about the types of spaces and activities they'd like to see in the new building. Those representatives will also reside in Wichita three to four days a week during construction.

Construction is expected to begin summer of 2020, the news release says. Woolsey Hall is anticipated to be open for classes for the spring semester of 2022.

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