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With a student body of approximately 14,500 and continuously increasing enrollment, students have outgrown the UMKC University Center. To support increasing enrollment and UMKC's transformation into a residential campus, the new Student Union opened Friday, August 20, 2010. In the mid-2000s, Nick Clark—now a School of Medicine student—noticed this lack of space and worked with other students and the administration to plan a new Student Union. The first plan for a new Student Union did not pass a campus-wide vote, but the second plan passed in 2007.

The Student Union project was funded through $1 million in private funds, $500,000 in campus reserves and $36.8 million in revenue bonds. The debt will be serviced through student fees approved by students in a November 2007 referendum.

Using the design-build approach, McCownGordon worked with architecture firm Gould Evans to design and build a four-story student union. UMKC College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design alumni contributed to the design of the New Student Union, as well.

Located near UMKC's residential halls at 51st and Cherry Streets, the $38.3 million Student Union features a green roof terrace and wide floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Country Club Plaza, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and UMKC's Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium and Recreational Field.