Cost of Kansas City's New Arts Center Rises by $67 Million

Classic Arts News   Cost of Kansas City's New Arts Center Rises by $67 Million
The anticipated cost of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, now under construction on a hilltop in Kansas City, has risen by 20% to a total of nearly $400 million.

According to The Kansas City Star, the Center's board of directors revealed last week that the guaranteed maximum price for construction is now $393 million, $67 million above the estimate given in 2004. (The total cost for the board and other backers is considered to be $358 million, says the paper, leaving out $35 million pledged by the Kansas City government to build a parking garage. The city plans to spend an additional $12 million for related infrastructure improvements.)

In a presentation to the board last week, general contractor J.E. Dunn Construction Co. attributed the price increase largely to steep rises in the cost of such materials as steel and copper. The prices of many commodities, particularly those used in construction, are climbing all over the world due to the current economic and building booms in China and India.

At least one board member told the Star that she wasn't surprised by the cost increase, and Kauffman Center executive director Jane Chu said that anonymous donors have already pledged to cover the additional $67 million.

The Center, designed by architect Moshe Safdie, will include a 1,800-seat opera/ballet theater (the future home of Kansas City Opera and Kansas City Ballet) and a 1,600-seat concert hall (which will host the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra). Construction of a third venue, a multi-purpose space for community events called Celebration Hall, has been postponed, saving about $10 million.

But Chu stressed to the Star that "There is no compromise in the design. Not one thing has been changed to save money."

Construction of the Kauffman Center began in the fall of 2006; the complex's grand opening is scheduled for the beginning of the 2010-11 season.

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