On March 9, 2017, Cerner, a global leader in healthcare technology, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the first two towers at Innovations, the organization’s newest campus in the Kansas City area at I-435 and Bannister Road. The $4.5 billion campus is the largest economic development project in the history of the state and is expected to create capacity for up to 16,000 new jobs by 2025. However, big projects and projections for massive job growth are nothing new for the area’s largest job creator. In fact, this will be Cerner’s seventh campus in the Kansas City area.
Headquartered in North Kansas City, Cerner has additional major employment centers at the former Marion Labs complex in south Kansas City as well as the relatively new Village West campus near the Legends in Wyandotte County, Kansas.
The two newest buildings at Innovations were constructed specifically for the software development team, which continues to move in from Cerner’s Realization Campus (the buildings south of Bannister Road along I-435). Every detail is a nod to their work, including the unique pattern of stainless steel and glass on the exterior, meant to resemble a mapped DNA sequence turned sideways.
The buildings themselves are also a nod to binary code: the first two are numbered buildings 0 and 1, and the address, 1024 Hillcrest, is the number of bytes in 1 kilobyte. The first two phases include several offices floors, a fitness center, clinic and training space. Each building also features spaces for employees to collaborate, including a project space, game room and library in each tower. The next two phases are expected to be completed in 2019, providing office space for an additional 3,000 employees. In the coming years, Cerner will construct daycare, retail and conference centers, with the development to conclude in 2025.
“We were founded in Kansas City, we are a Kansas City-based company,” Mike Nill, chief operating officer at Cerner, said. He continued, “The growth of the area and this area in particular, this was a blighted spot for a long time. It’s very exciting to see it develop. So, we’re doing many things to help the community; students in the area get an opportunity here. We’re making investments that will allow them to develop the skills they need to get jobs in places like Cerner.”
The company is providing the Hickman Mills school district $6 million to develop curriculum to prepare students for jobs of the future. Nill said Cerner wants more Kansas Citians to be able to work for the tech firm. As frequently happens with these massive employment centers, new restaurants have opened along Bannister Road in recent weeks to take advantage of the influx of people.
Neighbors said new housing needs to be developed so that more people who work at Cerner will want to live nearby. As Cerner continues to grow and employs more Kansas Citians, these centers of employment snowball to bring vibrancy and stimulate further growth in our local economy.