In 2002, both the Kansas City Power and Light District and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts were still on the drawing boards when leaders of both organizations came together to discuss common interests in downtown development.
A bit later, Julia Irene Kauffman and new KCP&L Chairman Mike Chesser sealed a partnership that will shed light on performances in both Kauffman Center halls. KCP&L’s leadership believes, “The economic development potential of the Kauffman Center made it a strong charitable investment for the company.”
KCP&L has made a significant gift to the Kauffman Center’s capital campaign and has selected naming rights for, appropriately enough, a number of lighting features in both halls.
Their contribution supports concert lighting for the stage in the concert hall, performance lighting instruments in the proscenium theatre and a range of other critical equipment including followspots, canopy lighting and stage work lights. In addition, KCP&L’s Energy Solutions staff worked closely with Kauffman Center designers in planning energy components of the building.
In 2007, KCP&L formally became the signature sponsor for Downtown’s new entertainment district. Monies from the naming rights will be used to provide free community events and educational opportunities within the district. The KCP&L clock tower is already in place. The company has also placed an energy producing, helix-shaped wind turbine nearby with a colorful electronic LED display that lights up when energy is being produced by the turbine.
Investing in Downtown revitalization is an important part of KCP&L’s overall community strategy. Both the Kansas City Power & Light District and the Kauffman Center believe that people will be drawn to all the amenities, both before and after an arts event. In addition, they both contribute to workforce development and give area children a great place to experience the arts, two priorities for KCP&L’s charitable giving.
KCP&L was also interested in the Kauffman Center’s environmentally friendly features. The parking structure to the south will be covered by a “green roof”—literally. Landscaping above the garage not only provides a friendlier view, but reduces the effect of urban heat islands (that would be caused by surface lot parking). There is also a green roof north of the facility, at ground level, between the building and the street. A radiant heating and cooling system delivers heating and cooling only where it is needed and reduces the need for fan energy. Airside economizers allow outside air, when conditions permit, to naturally cool the interior zones.
“We are thrilled to have KCP&L support the Kauffman Center,” says Jane Chu, president and CEO of the performing arts center. “Their commitment to downtown is substantial and provides a great model for other businesses to follow.”