KU Edwards BEST Building Opens

KUEC News Release

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – March 2 will mark the grand opening of the Business Engineering Science and Technology (BEST) Building on the University of Kansas Edwards Campus in Overland Park. The BEST Building came to fruition through the Johnson County Education and Research Triangle. The Triangle Initiative was made possible by a one-eighth cent sales tax approved by Johnson County voters in November 2008. The vote was the first time in the nation voters approved a local sales tax for life sciences and higher education initiatives. 

The BEST Building, a 75,000-square-foot, $23 million facility, will expand the undergraduate and graduate opportunities available to students in these four disciplines and offer 10 new degree programs. The first program, Bachelor of Business Administration, began in spring 2010. The second proposed program, Bachelor of Science Information Technology, is currently in the approval stages. The building will enable Edwards Campus to serve 1,000 additional students. 

The BEST Building will also further position the KU Edwards Campus as a driving force in the region's development. "The completion of this building is one in a series of significant steps driving Johnson County's leadership in the business, engineering, science and technology sectors," said Bob Clark, vice chancellor of KU EdwardsCampus. "Triangle-funded programs will produce highly trained graduates who are ready for next-generation careers. The combination of cutting-edge programs and astate-of-the-art facility should prove to be a powerful job-creation engine." 

The economic impact of the Triangle in Johnson County over the next two decades is expected to be well over $1.4 billion and attract millions of dollars in private and public donations and research grants. The other two legs of the Triangle include the International Animal Health and Food Safety Institute at K-State's Innovation Campus in Olathe (opened April 2011) and The University of Kansas' Clinical Research Center in Fairway, Kan. (opened January 2012).

Dick Bond, chair of the Edwards Campus Board of Advisors, compelled by his belief that prosperity derives from quality education, had the vision for the Triangle initiative. "The BEST Building represents a critical point on the Education and Research Triangle and brings Johnson County one step closer to hosting a nationally respected, world-class research university campus," Bond said.

The BEST Building exemplifies fresh thinking from the architects at Gould Evans and Mcpherson Contractors Inc. led the construction. Edwards Campus faculty members, students, alumni and staff collaborated with the architects to guide the design of a facility that will be flexible, functional and sensitive to the needs of the student population, mostly working professionals.

Classrooms were designed specifically for the academic programs planned for the BEST Building. Some provide configuration to facilitate team exercises and active classroom discussion. A technology-friendly environment will allow for easy use of laptops and wireless connections. In addition, the new building will include computer labs, faculty offices and a business conference center. The Building meets LEED energy efficiency standards and energy model tests indicate the BEST building is likely to reduce energy consumption by 60 percent compared to buildings of a similar use.

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