When it was dedicated April 9, 1960, this five-story yellow-buff brick building, designed by State Architect John Brink, was notable for the glass curtain wall on its south face. It occupies the site of eight World War II temporary buildings used as Sunnyside Apartments for married students. The School of Business, founded in 1924, is housed there, as are undergraduate programs in accounting, business administration, finance, information systems, management and marketing; master’s, joint master’s and doctoral programs; student support services; administrative and faculty offices; research centers; and the Richard S. Howey Reading Room, named for an emeritus professor of economics. A five-story addition, designed by Nearing and Staats of Mission and built by private donations, was dedicated Nov. 4, 1983. Summerfield was initially designed to house the University Computation Center, superseded in 1978 by the Computer Services Facility to the east.
The building is named for Solon E. Summerfield (1877-1947), a Lawrence native whose father was a KU law professor. Summerfield earned bachelor’s and law degrees (1899, 1901) at KU and moved to New York, where he founded the Gotham Silk Hosiery Co. In 1929 he endowed the Summerfield scholarship program for men.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Oct. 18, 2013, for a new, six-story School of Business building to be constructed south of Robinson Center and east of Allen Fieldhouse, on Naismith Drive. The $65 million, 166,000-square-foot structure was designed by Gensler of Chicago, partnered locally by Gastinger Walker Harden + BeeTriplett Buck of Kansas City; it is being constructed entirely through private funding. Tennis and volleyball courts on the building site will be relocated to the open space between Robinson Center and Watkins Memorial Health Center, and construction is expected to begin in spring 2014. Completion is slated for the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year.