New Bloch School building to open in fall 2013
When H&R Block co-founder Henry W. Bloch started college in 1939, the University of Kansas City had yet to establish a school of business or join the UM System.
In 1988, Bloch’s philanthropy filled that void, founding the present Henry W. Bloch School of Management.
Last fall, a $32 million donation from Bloch set the record for the largest single donation in UMKC history, bankrolling the cost of the 68,000-square-foot Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
After months of anticipation, the project broke ground last Thursday at the Student Union.
The contemporary state-of-the-art facility designed by BNIM Architects will open in fall 2013. It will replace the Chancellor’s Residence and faculty/staff parking lot north of the existing Henry W. Bloch School of Management.
Addressing a full audience, UM System President Tim Wolfe called the project a “linchpin for economic development.”
Bloch, now 89, praised the accomplishments of his namesake school.
“Today’s groundbreaking is the culmination of a long-term dream that began a quarter of a century ago with the vision of a strong, creative business school for Kansas City,” he said.
According to Bloch, the expansion was envisioned after a meeting with Dean Teng-Kee Tan in 2010.
Back then, Tan expressed concerns that the existing Bloch School building was nearing capacity and didn’t have enough space to accommodate future growth.
“At my age, I figure to have a fundraising campaign would take a long time,” Bloch said. “I decided to help out.”
Bloch described the new addition as a “purpose-built structure” that represents a “commitment to sustain the momentum we have started.”
“We must seize this opportunity and make the most,” he said.
Chancellor Leo Morton said the new Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall is more than a flashy new structure on campus.
“We are not here to recognize the addition of a building, but a vision that is not only an asset for our school, but a powerful driver of economic activity in Kansas City,” Morton said.
Morton said that following the project’s completion, the Bloch School’s enrollment is expected to double from 1,500 to 3,000 students.
Gov. Jay Nixon said the project will help establish Kansas City as the epicenter of entrepreneurship in the United States.
Provost Gail Hackett emphasized the role UMKC played in developing the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Big 5 ideas for the region, announced last fall.
They include constructing a downtown campus for the arts and making Kansas City “America’s most entrepreneurial city.”
Thanks to Bloch, Kansas City is already on its way.
Tan said that through the school’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, more than 100 businesses are started each year in Kansas City and beyond.
The Journal of Product Management named the Bloch School’s entrepreneurship program as No. 1 in the world. It also recognized Dr.
Michael Song and Dr. Mark Perry as the No. 1 and No. 4 innovation management scholars in the world, respectively.
To facilitate innovative learning, the Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall will include a state-of-the-art innovation lab, finance and behavioral labs, and flexible classroom space to be used for both traditional lectures and more hands-on learning activities.
Tan said the building will introduce a “new educational model and teaching pedagogy” that will “attract 21st century global talent.”
Architect Steve McDowell said the bold contemporary architecture is a “mission-driven design.”
A park-like open-area courtyard will serve as a “social hub” between the existing Bloch School and the new Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall, McDowell said.
To avoid competing with the existing Bloch building’s traditional appearance, the exterior color scheme will reflect brick tones and textures.
A row of windows along the exterior will bring in daylight and give passersby a sense of the energy going on inside, according to Assistant Vice Chancellor – Administration Bob Simmons.
Simmons said interior demolition work will begin on the Chancellor’s Residence this week, and exterior demolition will likely follow next week.
“We looked at a lot of options,” he said. “It would have been difficult to relocate due to its size and stucco façade.”
Furnishings will be relocated to the Administrative Center and new Student Success Center upon its completion. Salvageable architectural features, appliances and fixtures will be donated to Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
In addition, Simmons said the Cherry Street entrance to the Bloch School has been closed off to construct a new drop-off with three accessible parking spaces.
After the April 5-6 Board of Curators meeting, the eastern half of the parking lot will be demolished. After commencement, the remaining spaces will be removed.
An agreement has been made with the Toy and Miniature Museum to provide additional faculty parking.
JE Dunn will construct the new building. Moore Ruble Yudell, an architectural firm with national and international business school design experience, partnered with BNIM to design the Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall.
“This is a very forward-looking building,” Simmons said. “The types of teaching and innovation are also very forward.”