Downs Hall

This new residence hall with four room options, including more private bedroom options, is for both upperclass and freshmen residents.

Sign your​ contract now. This executive summary describes its features, including its convenient location near buildings for upperclass students, including the Schools of Business, Law, Engineering, and Music. 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.

See a drone view of Downs Residence Hall and its twin, Oliver Hall. These two beautiful buildings are connected by South Commons Dining Center.


Where is this hall located and what is it called?
The address is 1517 W. 18th Street (phone: 785-864-9050) 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 connects to the current Oliver Hall, 1815 Naismith Drive, via a shared dining center.

What is here?
The hall has 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
  • Free laundry rooms are located on each floor
  • A recreation room is available
  • The hall comes equipped with a full kitchen


What is Central District?
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, new Stouffer Place, at 19th and Iowa streets, the new Burge Union, a parking garage, a utility plant and a 280,000-square-foot integrated science building.

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.

A 20-year history of KU Student Housing residence hall construction
  • 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


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.”

Complex Director, Downs and McCarthy
Assistant Complex Director, Downs and McCarthy
Assistant Complex Director, Downs and McCarthy

Actual photographs of interior rooms available on photo gallery tab.


General room dimensions:
In the 4-person suites, bedrooms are about 7-7 ½’ x 11-11 ½’ and living rooms 13 ½ x 13 ½.
In the 4-person rooms (non-suites), bedrooms are approximately 11 ½ x 15 ½’.
In the private bedrooms (non-suites), bedrooms are approximately 7 ½ x 13 ½’.

This is a 4-person, 2-bath shared bedroom.

Downs beds are lofted and the dresser fits underneath

Downs Hall features four types of room layout

Bedrooms are furnished with bed, desk, dresser and chair for each resident

Pictured is a 4-person, 2-bath, shared bedroom layout

Friends gather in their spacious suite living room

The hall has large lobbies for studying and small study spaces

Laundry cost is included in your housing rate

Resident exits Downs Hall's South Commons Dining Center

Downs Hall entrance to South Commons Dining Center, Oliver and Downs Halls

Downs Hall north side and west entrance

Recreation area is located on the first floor

Students study together in study lounge

Study lounge with a view of Stouffer Place Apartments to the west

Spectacular view of the KU campus from the Downs study lounge


South Commons Dining Center

South Commons Dining Center

South Commons Dining Center

Provost Neeli Bendapudi welcomes new residents to a four-person suite

Big Jay outside between Oliver and new Downs Hall

Hall staff with a quick selfie before new residents arrive

Big Jay is supportive. Not entirely helpful, but supportive

Move in day is a family affair

The ribbon-cutting for the new South Commons Dining Center that serves Downs and Oliver

Move-in day set for Aug. 22

More than $200,000 in annual scholarships to returning residents
Academic success: More than 94 percent of first-time, full-time freshmen in student housing enroll for the next semester
5,100 residents choose student housing each year
Residence hall rates are almost $2,000 less per year than the national average for public schools
— College Board
$4 million alumni gift funded Krehbiel Scholarship Hall
Options include suites, private bedroom with shared bath, two-person rooms, scholarship halls, and apartments
Oswald and Self residence halls opened in 2015
One bill covers all costs: room, food, utilities, and wireless Internet
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities