Kansas City Star Newspaper Production Facility

The Kansas City Star awarded The Austin Company a contract to design, engineer and construct a massive new 424,000 SF production complex in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The $199-million complex was built to house new KBA presses, which improved the appearance of the newspaper, and give The Star more flexibility in how it packages and distributes its product.

Project Description: 

The Kansas City Star awarded The Austin Company a contract to design, engineer and construct a massive new 424,000 SF production complex in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The $199-million complex was built to house new KBA presses, which improved the appearance of the newspaper, and give The Star more flexibility in how it packages and distributes its product.

“This is one of the largest investments in downtown Kansas City in recent years and an extremely important project for The Star and the community we serve,” said Arthur S. Brisbane, president and publisher of The Star. “We selected The Austin Company for their track record of creating successful newspaper facilities for Knight Ridder, plus a creative architectural design that reflects a commitment to downtown.”

In addition to being a major investment in revitalizing downtown Kansas City, the new facility was significant in its architectural design. The multi-level building rises from four stories on the south end to approximately eight stories on the north end where four 60-feet-high Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) Commander presses reside. The presses boast a grand total of 216 couples, 36 towers, 40 reel stands and six folders — the largest KBA press installation in North America. The area enclosing the presses is clad in pre-patinated copper panels and high-performance blue glass, providing views into the heart of the building from as far away as the downtown freeway loop.

The architectural, engineering and construction components were approached with the goal of creating a "green" building. Although the owner chose not to pursue LEED® certification, it would have qualified for a Silver rating.
Green aspects of the project included:

  • The selection of a Brownfield site with existing and nearby utility and transportation services, thereby reducing the need for new infrastructure.
  • High-performance, energy-efficient mechanical systems, including the HVAC system, offering low levels of emission and, in some cases, elimination of certain pollutants such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
  • Primary construction with recycled and/or low-emitting building materials, such as low-emitting carpeting and paint, as well as low-emissivity or “low-E” glass, which reflects heat back to its source.
  • Approximately 75 percent of the facility’s interior spaces use natural lighting.
  • In partnership with The University of Kansas School of Architecture and Urban Design, windows from nearby razed buildings were refurbished and reused in homes for Habitat for Humanity.
  • The site’s landscaping is water efficient and was designed to reduce “heat islands.” Heat islands occur when concentrations of buildings and artificial surfaces retain heat, leading to warmer surrounding temperatures and causing cloudiness and precipitation in the city.
  • A waste-management plan was implemented on the construction site to divert waste away from landfills. Local and regional materials were used to reduce the energy required to bring materials to the job site.
Project Stats: 
Square Footage: 424,000
Austin Services Provided: Design, Engineering, Construction
Location: 

Kansas City, MO

Project Client: 

Kansas City Star

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