Solar panels, battery energy storage extend century-old ties between global critical infrastructure leader, renowned university
More than a century since two University of Kansas (KU) engineering graduates launched Black & Veatch, that global critical infrastructure solutions leader is donating renewable energy infrastructure powering the university’s new welcome center on its main Lawrence campus.
As an asset meant to enhance KU’s recruitment competitiveness in attracting tomorrow’s engineers and other students, the Jayhawk Welcome Center unveiled last Saturday has a powerhouse behind the scenes: rooftop solar panels and complementary battery storage, courtesy of Black & Veatch.
The 30,000-square-foot center — privately funded and attached to the newly renovated Adams Alumni Center – will enhance engagement for all Jayhawks, including current student leaders and the global alumni network, which has grown by 40 percent since 1983.
Black & Veatch’s participation in the welcome center is the latest KU connection in a long history that began when late Jayhawks Ernest Bateman Black and Nathan Thomas Veatch founded the company, now a global leader in innovative, resilient and sustainable infrastructure solutions.
“Our deep history with the University of Kansas dates to the 1915 origin of our company and its growth from just 12 professionals to more than 10,000 today. This Jayhawk Welcome Center extends those ties in a very modern way through sustainable energy,” said Mario Azar, Black & Veatch’s Chairman and CEO. “We’ve taken what we do best in sustainability and invested it in the promise of tomorrow’s leaders who will walk through those doors, pursue their careers and innovate.”
The sustainable energy provided by the welcome center’s solar panels will not only lower the university’s carbon footprint but also power digital exhibits, including a board detailing how the renewable power is generated and how much is being stored — for example, the annual solar power made possible by Black & Veatch is enough to power the field lights at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium for 50 football games.
According to the university, recent enrollment trends confirm that the campus visit is pivotal in attracting prospective students; in 2019 and 2020, students who visited the university enrolled at twice the rate of those who did not tour the campus.
“The Jayhawk Welcome Center is a showcase for our broader views on sustainability that factor in not only the environment but promote economic prosperity for all, ensuring that all members of society are treated with equality and respect” said Douglas A. Girod, the university’s chancellor. “The center, with the support of Black & Veatch and many partners and contributors, will be a real game-changer for our university and our mission.”
Features of the Jayhawk Welcome Center and renovated Adams Alumni Center highlight the university’s research, discoveries, innovations and economic impact, in addition to stories of accomplished alumni.
It also features expansive views of campus — including the football stadium and World War II Memorial Campanile — along with a 360-degree virtual exhibit capturing experiences in classrooms, laboratories and Allen Fieldhouse. A two-story LED screen will offer personalized greetings for visitors and customized videos, photo slideshows, animations and social media feeds.
Black & Veatch designed, procured and installed a complete 57.95kW PV/30 kWh battery energy storage system (BESS).
For more information about the Jayhawk Welcome Center, visit jayhawkwelcomecenter.org.
To read more about Black & Veatch’s renewable energy solutions, click here.
About the University of Kansas
The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. The university's mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world. The KU News Service is the central public relations office for the Lawrence campus.
About the KU Alumni Association
Through the support of members and donors, the KU Alumni Association advocates for the University of Kansas, communicates with Jayhawks in all media, recruits students and volunteers, serves the KU community and unites Jayhawks. For more information, visit kualumni.org.
About Black & Veatch Black & Veatch is a 100-percent employee-owned global engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people around the world by addressing the resilience and reliability of our most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2021 exceeded US$3.3 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and on social media.
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