A Collaborative Design-Build Approach Brings New Home to School of Leadership Studies

Opus has been a model of professionalism and performance at Kansas State University in both their capacity to guide a strong and healthy design-build process and incorporate LEED goals and outcomes into that process.

Ben Champion
Director of Sustainability
Kansas State University
Offering the most popular academic minor at Kansas State University (K-State), the School of Leadership Studies quickly outgrew its two-house location on the edge of campus. Making the decision to build a more permanent home to suit its growing needs, K-State selected Opus to construct the university’s first design-build project.

Following the integrated design-build approach, collaboration was an important factor from the start. A committee of representatives from the school’s administration, facilities team and others held an ongoing dialogue with Opus to ensure that their input was translated into the final design.

Focal Point: Interactive Learning Spaces

With higher education embracing more interactive teaching methods, the Town Hall auditorium became the focal point of the new building. Seating 210 people, the circular room is located in the center of the building and is designed as an interactive, collaborative space.

The circular design of the room puts the professor at the center of the classroom and reduces the distance between any given seat and the teacher, creating a more intimate setting. Tiered seating with two rows of seats on each level and the swiveling capability of the front row of chairs allows for small group discussions and breakout sessions.

To honor the program’s humble beginnings in two houses, Opus AE Group, L.L.C. incorporated fireplaces into the design of the new building. Etched on the exterior of the chimneys are key words from the program’s mission statement: “Developing knowledgeable, ethical, caring, inclusive leaders for a diverse and changing world.”

Check: LEED Gold Certification Achieved

With a focus on sustainable construction, Opus worked closely with the administration to ensure the facility met the requirements for LEED certification. Ultimately, the School of Leadership Studies earned LEED Gold certification, making it the first higher education facility in Kansas to achieve LEED certification at any level.