UMKC has site for downtown campus


The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance has a site for a new downtown campus, but still must raise millions of dollars to make it reality.

Officials announced the 2-acre site today while they stood within view of it at the Kauffman Center.

The one-block site just south of the center is bounded by Broadway, Central, 17th and 18th streets.

“This is our dream site,” said UMK Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “It offers everything we wanted, everything we hoped for.”

performing arts blockBut he added that there is still much to be done.

The donation valued a $6 million is contingent on UMKC raising $96 million for phase one of the project.

The Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation has already pledged a $20 million challenge grant toward the total. With it, the new site and other donations, UMKC has raised about $27 million.

Officials hope to raise $21 million more and get a $48 million matching grant from the state.


A rendering of the new performing arts campus.

Jane Chu, CEO of the Kauffman Center, said placing the conservatory next to the center creates powerful synergy. It puts performance, teaching and learning in proximity, like the Juilliard School and Lincoln Center in New York.

Mayor Sly James said the city is building on what is already a rich artistic and cultural foundation.

The site is a celebration not only of progress but of process, he said.

The Downtown Council and Philip Kirk, past chairman of DST Realty, organized and coordinated the land purchase for the site.

The owners of four buildings on the site agreed to sell to the non-profit development corporation set up to create the campus.

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