Celebrating the HKS Campus Transformation Project

By: David Duesing

On Friday, December 1, the Kennedy School celebrated the official completion of its years-long campus transformation project. With the campus expansion project completed, the school now boasts many new facilities, including six new classrooms, a new student lounge, and 15 new team rooms. The Kennedy School’s expansion has over 7,510 donors from 128 countries to thank for their contributions, which allowed the project to succeed without the use of tuition dollars or endowment funds.

To commemorate the grand opening of the new campus, the Kennedy School received remarks from current and former Kennedy School deans Doug Elmendorf and David Ellwood, as well as Harvard University president Drew Faust. In her remarks, President Faust shared both her pride in the Kennedy School and excitement for what lies ahead: “For decades Harvard Kennedy School has trained leaders from across the country and around the world who shape public policy with expertise, collaborative exchange, and creative problem-solving. HKS’s commitment to guiding both current and future public servants is stronger now than ever, and new physical spaces on campus will enable the School to advance this work.”

Dean Elmendorf also expressed his excitement for how the expanded campus would transform the school, quoting Sir Winston Churchill’s idea that “we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” The new campus is will certainly affect the work and lifestyle of student and faculty life on campus. With over 91,000 square feet of classrooms, connecting corridors between all buildings, inside and outside courtyards, and many new work and study areas, there are countless new ways in which the HKS community can experience and enjoy campus.

The expanded campus will also not affect the number of degree-seeking students admitted to the Kennedy School, according to Dean Elmendorf. The Executive Education program will expand its number of annual participants from around 3,000 to 4,000, however. This will give students the space they need to work individually and as groups throughout campus.

The Kennedy School’s commitment to sustainability is also evident in the school’s new buildings. The central courtyard serves as a green roof for the Wexner building’s lower level, including the kitchen, and new Executive Education classroom. A 66,000-gallon rainwater collection tank will also reduce irrigation water usage by more than half. Early next year, the school will begin installing over 150 solar panels on the roofs of the new buildings as well.

The grand opening ended with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a reception in the cafeteria and winter garden. Afterwards, guests were invited to explore the new campus, including the newly opened Ofer building, which connects the Taubman and Belfer buildings, and the new student lounge.

Finishing touches of the campus transformation project will continue into next semester, but the lion’s share of the work is complete and ready for the HKS community to enjoy. It’s an exciting time for the Kennedy School and the beginning of a new chapter in our school’s history. As Dean Elmendorf remarked, the campus transformation is also “about increasing the school’s power to do good in the world.”