The original Burge Union, which opened in 1979, closed in March 2016 and was razed. A new building, also named for longtime director of the KU unions Frank Burge, replaces it. Costing $13 million and funded mostly by student fees, it will have about 33,000 square feet in 1.5 stories and a basement. It will house a conference area, KU Legal Services for Students, the Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Center, the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, a Reflection Room, a lactation room, and a coffee shop and convenience store. Completion is planned for summer 2018.
It is part of the $350 million Central District redevelopment project that includes new residence halls and apartments, a parking garage, and an integrated science building.
As the campus expanded to the south and west, the need for a satellite union became apparent. Students approved plans for one in 1968, but only in 1976 were revenue bonds issued that, combined with student fees, paid for a $2.8 million building west of Allen Fieldhouse and south of Green Hall. Architects Raymond and Phillip Coolidge of Topeka designed the 48,450-square-foot brick and reinforced concrete building, which opened Aug. 21, 1979, and was dedicated April 27, 1980. On his retirement, the satellite union was named in honor of Frank Burge, director of the unions 1952-83.