Groundbreaking ceremony marks start of university’s east end transformation project

Largest capital investment in the Danforth Campus recent history

Future east end development, including Tisch Park, front center.
Future east end development.

Washington University in St. Louis is embarking on a major transformation of the east end of its Danforth Campus and will mark the start of the construction with a ceremonial groundbreaking at 4 p.m. Friday, May 5.

The ceremony will be on the grassy median on Brookings Drive at the foot of Brookings Hall. The east end transformation project will encompass 18 acres of the Danforth Campus, beginning at the foot of Brookings Hall and continuing east to Skinker Boulevard.

Considered the university’s largest capital investment in the Danforth Campus recent history, the project will include the addition of three new academic buildings to support the university’s core missions of teaching and research; an expansion of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum; two new multi-use facilities; an underground parking garage; and an expansive new park that better connects academic programs and provides a more inviting, relaxed gathering place for the university community and campus visitors.

The majority of the work is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

Participating in the ceremony will be Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton; Life Trustees Stephen F. Brauer and John F. McDonnell, MBA ’14; Trustee Andrew E. Newman; and senior Shoshanah M. Shanes, Arts & Sciences, Class of 2017.

Key other participants are the east end project donors:

  • Trustee Donald A. Jubel, BS ’73;
  • Life Trustee David W. Kemper;
  • James M. McKelvey Jr., AB ’87, BS ’87;
  • Board of Trustees Chair Craig D. Schnuck;
  • Trustee Gary M. Sumers, AB ’75;
  • Trustee Ann R. Tisch, AB ’76; and
  • Trustee John D. Weil.

The three new academic buildings will be Henry A. and Elvira H. Jubel Hall, to house the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science in the School of Engineering & Applied Science; James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall, to house the engineering school’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering and support the university’s data science efforts; and Anabeth and John Weil Hall, which will be the new front door to the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and provide faculty and students exceptional studio spaces and access to new technologies.

An expansion on the north side of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum will create the James M. Kemper Gallery, a state-of-the-art exhibition space, and a new entrance foyer. The relocated Florence Steinberg Weil Sculpture Garden will integrate the museum’s prominent collection of outdoor sculpture into the expanded green space.

The Craig and Nancy Schnuck Pavilion will be a vital hub of activity housing a variety of dining options, the Environmental Studies program in Arts & Sciences and the Office of Sustainability. The Schnuck Pavilion will also support pedestrian and bicycle commuters with shower facilities, lockers and bicycle parking.

Designed to be an important destination for prospective and current students, the Gary M. Sumers Welcome Center will house the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Student Financial Services and offer a true starting point for the campus visitor experience.

Ann and Andrew Tisch Park will be a reimagined landscape offering a welcoming entrance to campus and places for members of the university community and visitors to gather and celebrate. Tisch Park, which will be between Skinker Boulevard and the current location of Hoyt Drive, will include the new Brookings Allée and be home to some 70 of the more than 300 trees that will be planted on the east end.

Rendering of underground parking facility.
Rendering of underground parking facility.

A 790-space underground parking facility will provide convenient access to the Danforth Campus, especially east-end destinations. Drivers will enter the new underground garage either from Forsyth Boulevard or from Forest Park Parkway, and there will be a vehicular drop-off area accessible from Skinker Boulevard.

Sustainability features

All the new buildings on the east end have been designed to target LEED-Gold certification and will include solar photovoltaic arrays located on many of the roofs to generate renewable electricity. High-efficiency heat recovery chillers will harvest waste heat for much of the heating needs, and the underground garage will be capped with a green roof, creating a dynamic, car-free park above.

Tisch Park’s landscape design features rain gardens with bio-retention, native plantings and a diverse tree canopy.

Low-carbon transportation will be encouraged with a new bike commuter facility, which includes showers and lockers; electric vehicle charging stations in the underground parking garage; and a network of bicycle and pedestrian pathways to link the Danforth Campus to Forest Park and regional greenways.

For more details about the plan to transform the east end of the Danforth Campus and project updates, visit

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