Downs (new) Hall
Come see inside of the new Downs Residence Hall. The video rendering begins with the new science building, then at 2:20 shows you the apartment complex, and finally at 2:37, the new dining center and residence hall, including interiors.
This brand-new residence hall with four room options will open in August for both upperclass and freshmen residents. Room options include more private bedrooms, pictured below, as a response to resident requests. This hall also will be single gender by suite instead of single gender by wing, as are the other halls. Sign the contract now to choose this hall in the spring.
The hall is conveniently located near buildings that serve many upperclass students, including the Schools of Business, Law, Engineering, and Music. In addition, nearby recreation buildings include Anschutz Sports Pavilion, Allen Fieldhouse, Hoglund Ballpark and Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center. With the construction of the Central District, this building is located at the new center of the KU campus, easily accessible by walking and by convenient bus routes.
The $51 million complex will feature a 545-bed residence hall and new dining center to be shared with existing Oliver Hall. In the architectural rendering above, the dining center is at left and residence hall at right.
The hall is part of the broader KU Central District project.The $350 million Central District project creates new science buildings, a power plant, parking, and space for future academic buildings. The Kansas Board of Regents approved names for three buildings in the University of Kansas’ Central District redevelopment project, honoring three prominent historical figures. A KU Student Housing residence hall, apartment complex and a student union all received names: Cora Downs Residence Hall, Stouffer Place Apartments and Frank R. Burge Student Union.
Stouffer Place Apartments and the Burge Union will continue the use of names for KU buildings torn down as part of the reconstruction of the Central District, while Cora Downs Residence Hall will recognize the contributions of a renowned scientist. She earned her doctorate degree from KU in 1924, and also received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from KU. She began as an instructor of bacteriology in 1917, then became a professor and served as a member of the faculty until her retirement in 1963. Dr. Downs was one of KU’s most outstanding scientists. During World War II, she led 40 scientists in a top secret biological warfare project. (Side note: Her grandmother, also named Cora Downs, was the first female member of the Kansas Board of Regents.)
“We’re excited to open these residential buildings and provide more options for students to continue living on campus longer into their KU careers. The unit types and additional privacy are exactly what today’s students have asked for,” said Diana Robertson, director of KU Student Housing. “The historical names, which honor a ground-breaking scientist and an academic dean, fit perfectly with our mission to build learning-centered communities. It is a privilege to honor their legacy.”
Where is this hall located and what is it called?
The address is 1517 W. 18th Street and the name is Downs Hall, honoring Cora Downs. Downs was the first woman to earn a PhD at KU and became a renowned scientist. The hall is located between 18th and 19th Street, just west of Naismith Drive. It will connect to the current Oliver Hall, 1815 Naismith Drive, via a shared dining center.
The hall will have 545 men and women residents. Residents may choose one of four room designs. A renovated academic commons will be located in the existing Oliver Hall dining center. Additionally, a brand-new 22,000 square-foot dining center connects Oliver Hall and Downs Hall.
- All rooms are suites
- Private bedrooms are options for both 2-person and 4-person suites
- Laundry rooms are located on each floor
- A recreation room is available
- The hall comes equipped with a full kitchen
When can I sign a contract?
Contracts for next year are available now! Returning residents have first choice of rooms and can sign the online contract now. All residents, new and returning, may sign a contract now and begin choosing a space in spring. As with all contracts, cancellation fees apply if you change your mind.
What is the construction timeline?
This project is part of the KU Central District, approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in November 2015. In addition to this new residence hall, the projects include a 700-bed student apartment building at 19th and Iowa streets, the new Burge Union, a parking garage, a utility plant and a 280,000-square-foot integrated science building.
How much will the new hall cost?
Total project cost is estimated at $51 million for this complex. The rate that students pay for this hall has been approved by the Kansas Board of Regents and can be found here. Student housing is a fee-funded department and, as with other renovations and construction, the cost will be borne by students who choose to live in these new buildings, not by general tuition.
When was the last new residence hall built at KU?
Prior to the opening of Self and Oswald halls in 2015, Oliver Residence Hall was the last new residence hall. It was built in 1966.
- Self and Oswald Halls: new buildings opened in August 2015
- GSP Hall: renovated and reopened in August 2012
- Jayhawker Towers A, D: renovated and reopened in August 2009 and 2010
- Hashinger Hall: renovated and reopened in August 2006
- Ellsworth Hall: renovated and reopened in August 2004
- Lewis Hall: renovated and reopened in August 1999
- Templin Hall: renovated and reopened in August 1997
A still image from the webcam that shows the buiding progress in late August.
View of the site and how the building connects to the existing Oliver Hall
Alan J. C. Jones