Venues That Have it “Down to a Science”

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By Kaitlyn Wallace

Registration: Check.
Catering: Check.
Speakers and PowerPoints: Check and check.
State-of-the-art A/V and projection technology: Check …?
Fully functional laboratory: …?

Regular corporate events have a fairly set checklist. When searching for venues, we search for the same things: square footage, flexible set-up, an accommodating event team, and a stunning setting. But as events specialize, their needs become narrower, and they are often better suited to more specialized venues. Particularly in the areas of science, technology and medicine, meetings, conferences and other events are often best held in venues that align with their interests and understand their specific needs. With this in mind, Meet Kansas has gathered a list of the top venues in Kansas for various kinds of science, technology and medical meetings. From the general to the specific, these venues cater to a wide variety of events in these fields, and they are excellent options for your next professional event.

  1. Kansas City Convention Center – Kansas City, MO

Though technically a mile on the wrong side of the Kansas-Missouri border, we could not help but to include the Kansas City Convention Center. With its 40,500 square foot grand ballroom (expandable to 46,484 square feet, with a maximum capacity of 4,000 people), a total square footage of 56,000 over three floors, and the capability to host 6,000 people total, the Kansas City Convention Center is the venue for large meetings and events in any field. Other impressive features include 34,760 square feet of pre-function space, 8 breakout rooms, and beautifully modern architecture, with natural lighting systems, skywalks connecting various buildings, and “a glass wall offering dramatic views to the south,” according to the convention center’s website. The Convention Center has a number of medical meetings and events planned for this year, including, but not limited to, the AAFP National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students, the Integrity Doctors Summer Spectacular, and the Cerner Corporation Annual Health Conference.

Address: 301 W 13th St #100, Kansas City, MO 64105

Phone #: (816) 513-5000

2. Overland Park Convention Center – Overland Park, KS

The Overland Park Convention Center is another general venue for conferences which focus on the conceptual or business side of science, technology and medicine. It comes with 98,500 square footage of meeting space, a 60,000 square foot exhibit hall, and 12 breakout rooms (not to mention its connection to the adjacent and spacious Sheraton Hotel). In the past year, the Overland Park Convention Center has hosted conferences and events on everything from IT infrastructure, post-stroke care and military engineering to pharmacy, cybersecurity and dermatology. It is a great space for an event with standard but high-quality demands.

Address: 6000 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS 66211

Phone #: (913) 339-3000

3. KUMC (Kansas University Medical Center) – Kansas City, Kansas

KUMC’s major draw is its immediate access to medical experts and professionals and state-of-the-art medical facility, which makes it a prime meeting location for medically-oriented conferences and events. It also has a comprehensive meeting and events team, which provides services from standard event planning and logistics to accreditation, database management, and market research and analysis. With four on-campus catering options and easily accessible A/V equipment, KUMC has streamlined their event planning process to maximum efficiency. In the past year, KUMC has hosted events such as the 69th Postgraduate Symposium on Anesthesiology, the 2019 Health Policy Symposium, the Sports Medicine Symposium 2019, and the Neuroscience Update 2018 Conference, and was the largest provider of CME credit in Kansas.

Address: 3901 Rainbow Blvd, Kansas City, KS 66160

Phone #: (913) 588-5000

4. BPCC (Beren Petroleum Conference Center) – Lawrence, KS

The BPCC is located in Slawson Hall (a part of KU’s state-of-the-art Earth, Energy & Environment Center), a complex which also contains KU’s Isotope Geochemistry Lab, the Keck-NSF Paleoenvironmental and Environmental Stable Isotope Lab, multiple computer labs, 3D Visualization Facilities, and KU’s Biogeochemistry Suite, among other high-tech science and technology spaces. Though a slightly smaller space (accommodating around 300 guests), the BPCC has a 3,000 square foot auditorium as well as several smaller meeting rooms and a catering kitchen. The lobby is available as well, often used for registration space or additional conference space. Its main draw, however, is its modern architecture and technology. As a representative of Explore Lawrence expressed, “I cannot even begin to describe how cool and high-tech this building is… lots of floor-to ceiling glass windows instead of walls, so you can actually look into labs and classrooms and see them in action… it is equipped with the all the latest technology, including webcasting abilities.” It also includes a video wall in the lobby, which can be used to direct or simply to impress guests as they enter the Conference Center. These capabilities pair well with events in technology or environmental science spheres.

Address: 1420 Naismith Dr. (Slawson Hall) Lawrence, KS 66045

Phone #: 785-864-6556

5. KU Edwards Conference Center – Overland Park, KS

KU Edwards, a satellite location for the main University of Kansas site, provides a niche space for technical events and trainings. With a maximum capacity of 400 guests, proximity to multiple hotels, several breakout rooms, various styles of classrooms, banquet space, and auditoriums, KU Edwards’s Conference Center fulfills all of the requirements of a traditional conference center well. However, the Conference Center also features computer labs, state-of-the-art equipment, and wireless technology, making it perfect for tech and computer science events, demonstrations and trainings. In the past year, it has hosted events focused around biotechnology, engineering and cybersecurity, among others.

Address: 12600 S Quivira Rd, Overland Park, KS 66213

Phone #: 913-897-8526

6. The Burge Union – Lawrence, KS

No one appreciates modernity and innovation quite like science and technology professionals ­– and The Burge Union brings innovative and modern approaches to their meetings and events. Their Forum ABCD space is constructed for flexibility; it is made up of 4 spaces that can be combined into different configurations and expanded to the event’s need. At its largest, the Burge Union’s space totals 10,600 square feet, and can accommodate 1,000 guests, making it the largest event space in Lawrence, Kansas. The Burge Union’s event staff provides schematics for the various configurations of the Forum ABCD in order to help navigate this innovative approach.

The Burge Union has a modern and sleek design– with state-of-the-art technology, innovative design and modern furnishing, this space is highly appealing to professionals involved in science and tech careers.

Address: 1565 Irving Hill Rd, Lawrence, KS 66045

Phone #: 785-864-4651

7. Topeka Zoo – Topeka, KS

From fun and small corporate events to serious animal science endeavors, the Topeka Zoo events team is ready and able to tailor your experience to any mood, size and area of expertise while moving away from traditional and often boring tropes of event space. If you’re looking for a fun and unique experience, the Topeka Zoo offers event space within their Safari exhibit (the Camp Cowabunga and Dung Beetle Square), inside a secluded garden surrounded by Koi pods and relaxing and delicate architecture (Kay’s Garden and Event Center), and an open-air pavilion overlooking the Giraffe Exhibit. More educational and/or animal science focused events can opt for the Gary K. Clarke Education Center, which provides more traditional amenities such as projection and A/V, or behind-the-scenes tours of the zoo itself!

Address: 635 SW Gage Blvd, Topeka, KS 66606

Phone #: (785) 368-9180

8. IGP  (International Grains Program) Conference Center – Manhattan, KS

For agricultural sciences, location and venue are of the utmost importance. That’s why the International Grains Program, an active part of Kansas State University, is the perfect place for agriculturally-centered meetings and events. IGP specializes in grain processing, management and marketing as well as risk management in the agricultural sciences. The IGP complex contains four buildings: the Hal Ross Flour Mill, the O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center, the Bio-processing and Industrial Value Added Program, and, of course, the International Grains Program Conference Center, with a maximum capacity of 425 and easily accessible state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment. It contains the usual amenities– an auditorium, board room, dining room, atrium and multipurpose room– as well as more specific features, such as a grain-grading lab for classes and demonstrations and tours of the surrounding facilities.

Address: 1980 Kimball Ave, Manhattan, KS 66502

Phone #: 785-532-4070

Though planning an event in the sciences can seem daunting at first, it doesn’t have to be! All you need is a venue which matches the mood of the meeting and provides the knowledge and services needed to fulfill the needs of your event. With these suggestions in mind, go forth and plan – and obtain excellent results.

Kaitlyn Wallace is a contributing writer from St. Louis.

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