With construction under way on a Hospital Hill student apartment building in the background, Kansas City and UMKC leaders locked arms with community members on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and walked from one side of Troost Ave. to the other to celebrate the project and symbolically erase a line that has for years separated the city’s east from west and black from white.
For those who attend classes at the School of Medicine and the schools of Dentistry, Nursing and Health Studies, and Pharmacy, the ceremony officially recognized the building of the first residence hall for students on Hospital Hill.
UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton called it not only an historic day for Kansas City, but a great day for UMKC students.
“It’s important to our students to live here because the students get to live in the community where they’re providing services,” Morton said. “That will deepen their appreciation for the value of the community and the people they serve.”
The new 254-bed apartment complex is slated for completion in time for the 2014 fall semester.
“What we’re hoping to see is a year from now students, medical students, dental students, pharmacy students, nursing students moving back and forth from this site and the schools they attend,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said.
While the new $30.33 million apartment complex presents a housing boon for health science students who will reside on Hospital Hill, city leaders recognized the development in the heart of Kansas City’s Beacon Hill community as a spark for even greater economic development and a new beginning of efforts to break down the barriers of segregation in the area.
Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed, who represents the third district that encompasses the Beacon Hill community that adjoins Hospital Hill to the west, said he was proud of the economic development taking place in his district.
“This project will house more than 245 students and is the first residency hall to serve the health science students at UMKC. This means future economic development in Beacon Hill neighborhoods. And, it will help us eliminate health disparities among members of all communities in this entire city,” Reed said.
UMKC’s new student apartment complex located on the northeast corner of Troost and 25th street is currently the centerpiece of the redevelopment project.
Apartments will be a mix of one-, two- and four-bedroom units on five levels. The housing will include gated fences to provide a secure, private courtyard with exterior tables and grills. Building entry will be by card access and security cameras will be at all entrances and public areas. A pedestrian pathway will cross Troost to connect the apartment complex to the Hospital Hill Campus. A bus stop and bike racks are included in the design.