The center, dedicated April 9, 2005, incorporates nine limestone arches and the walls from KU’s oldest surviving structure, the 1887 Powerhouse designed by John G. Haskell. The center includes a 120-seat conference room, seminar room and offices for Hall Center staff and research fellows. It was built with a $4.07 million gift from the Hall Family Foundation and state and private funds.
Founded in 1976 by the Kansas Board of Regents, the Center for Humanistic Studies at the University of Kansas became the Hall Center for the Humanities in 1983. Between 1984 and 2005, it was based in the Watkins Home.