Media Release

Spencer Museum selects Mar Lan Construction for major renovation project

LAWRENCE, KS, April 28, 2015— The Spencer Museum of Art announces the selection of Mar Lan Construction to carry out the Museum’s major Phase I renovation project, set to begin this May. The project, which will transform more than 30,000 square feet of the Museum, represents the first major renovation of the building since it was completed in 1977.


“Mar Lan demonstrates a level of quality, attention to detail, and on-the-ground presence that reflects the goals of the Spencer Museum in this phase of capital improvement,” said Spencer Museum Director Saralyn Reece Hardy.


Mar Lan Construction, founded in Lawrence in 1999, is a leading general contractor working across the state of Kansas on commercial, institutional, and industrial projects. The company has worked on several recent projects at the University of Kansas, including ongoing construction of the DeBruce Center for the Original Rules of Basketball, the Lied Center Pavilion, and the renovation of Swarthout Recital Hall.


“We are honored to partner with the Spencer Museum of Art on this transformative project,” said Mar Lan General Manager Gale Lantis. “It is a privilege to be involved in the renovation of such an important organization and building.”


With contributions from more than 85 donors and foundations across the country, the Museum has exceeded its original $5 million fundraising goal and continues working with KU Endowment to raise funds to support the project. Phase I includes an expanded lobby and gathering space and complete renovation of the central court and surrounding galleries. New additions to the space include a central elevator and staircase, and a two-story, floor-to-ceiling window that will allow natural light inside the galleries and connect the Museum to the historic Marvin Grove. The new Stephen H. Goddard Study Center, named in honor of the Museum’s longtime curator for works on paper, as well as an expanded teaching gallery, will allow for increased interaction with students and scholars.


Acclaimed architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners is leading the project, with Sabatini & Associates of Lawrence as an associate architect. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners introduced the initial concept for Phase I renovations in 2013. The firm has designed 20 museums since its founding in 1955, among them the Grand Louvre, Paris; Musée d'art Modern, Luxembourg; the East Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Charles Shipman Payson Building, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine.


“The teams of Pei Cobb Freed, Sabatini & Associates, and Mar Lan will deliver a world-class project with plenty of local investment and care,” Reece Hardy said.


Although galleries are closed until the project’s completion, which is slated for mid-2016, the Spencer Museum remains active with offsite programs and special events throughout the community.

Media Contacts

Elizabeth Kanost

Elizabeth Kanost
Communications Manager