A press release about the vote said that a date for groundbreaking had not yet been chosen, but the Kansas City Star reported that a groundbreaking ceremony would take place in October and construction would begin in December. The opening is planned for fall 2009.
The vote came despite the failure of organizers to reach a fundraising deadline set last fall. In October, the board decided that it would move ahead if it could raise $45 million (about half of the money that remained to be raised) by February. When that date arrived, only $25 million had been collected. But donations since have apparently been strong enough to allow construction to go forward.
The board said yesterday that it had raised about 70 percent of the estimated cost of the arts center. The Star put the current total at $261 million.
Julia Irene Kauffman, chairman of the center's board, said, "This is the culmination of ten years hard work on the part of a lot of people who believe in this dream. Our board is expressing confidence that the total fundraising goal will be met."
The new center, designed by architect Moshe Safdie, will be located on a hill south of downtown Kansas City. It will consist of an 1,800-seat hall for opera and ballet, a 1,600-seat symphonic hall, and a flexible venue to be called "Celebration Hall." Tenants will include the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.