MidAmerica Nazarene University

MidAmerica Nazarene University named Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazine Facility Design Project of the Month!

Since its inception in 1966, MidAmerica Nazarene University had a dining area but never had a student center. In 2016, this private university in Olathe, Kans., change the course of its history and create a heart of the campus. To help make its vision come to fruition, it engaged PGAV Architects, Westwood, Kans., along with Pioneer College Caterers Inc., Olathe, Kans., and Rippe Associates in Minneapolis

“The major goal of Cunningham Center was to provide a student-centered facility, including study space and collaboration rooms as well as recreation and social space, to foster relationships and collaboration between students and also with faculty,” says Dr. David Spittal, president. “It is a gathering place with flex dining spaces to accommodate both resident and commuter students. It is a place to learn and grow together.”

Despite a strong desire to create a new center, the project faced some significant challenges. For example, the university experienced challenging financial times and wasn’t taking out a construction loan for the building. To fund the project the school initiated a capital campaign. As a result of the campaign reaching its goals, MidAmerica Nazarene University began designing the new facility in August 2019.

“For a small school, this type of project is a life-changing experience for the campus community,” says Eric Goodrich, principal, Rippe Associates, Minneapolis. “I immediately thought of the Wizard of Oz, not only because Dorothy is from Kansas, but also because the Tin Man sang ‘If I only had a heart.’ Despite the financial challenges, Cunningham Center became the heart of campus.”


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