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The Dole Institute of Politics was designed by Steve Abend of the Kansas City architectural firm Asai Architecture. At the time of its dedication, Abend said the building’s design attempted to express the “intangible qualities which represent Senator Dole.”
The architect used limestone of varying finishes that was quarried around Kansas. The lower part of the building is made up of a dark-colored stone quarried near St. Mary’s, Kansas. The upper part is made of a light-colored limestone known as “Manhattan Cream” quarried south of Strong City in Chase County.
The stone near the Dole Institute main entrance is a dark, polished limestone. If you look closely, you can see the fossil remains of many organisms, including corals, snails, and clams.
The front façade of the Dole Institute, made of light-colored pre-cast concrete, is reminiscent of some of the federal buildings in Washington, D.C.
One of the highlights of the front of the building is a fourteen-foot replica of the State of Kansas seal. The seal was a gift of the Dane G. Hansen Foundation of Logan, Kansas.
A 32,000 square foot reflecting pool, which is reminiscent of Washington’s Tidal Basin, occupies the area in front of the building. The pool is a gift of Polly Bales of Logan, Kansas.
The path leading to the main entrance is paved with commemorative bricks, many of which are in memory of World War II veterans. The area continues to expand as additional personalized bricks are purchased.
Granite Map of Kansas – Upon entering the Dole Institute, a 19-foot red granite floor map of Kansas greets visitors, complete with brass markers for the towns of Russell, Topeka and Lawrence. The map was a gift of the Billings family.
Light pours in from the east side of the building through the 20-foot-by-12-foot “Russell Window,” a stained-glass window depicting the landscape of Dole’s hometown of Russell, Kansas. Senator Dole donated the window in memory of his parents, Doran and Bina Dole.
This dramatic 3,300 square foot space, a gift of the Dane G. Hansen Foundation of Logan, Kansas, is encircled by 20 separate exhibits. The dramatic ceiling slopes from 12 feet at the North end to 36 feet at the south end. The floor is laid with tile from Crossville, Tennessee. The hall serves as an exhibit space, public forum and venue for meetings, programs and dinners.
Old Glory in Stained Glass
A 29-foot stained-glass American flag dominates the south side of the building. On sunny days, the window casts a reflection on the floor. KU Alumni Forrest and Sally Hoglund donated the window.
At the opposite end of the central exhibit hall is a 12-foot replica of the U.S. Capitol Dome, a gift from Senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole. The dome replica tops a video presentation on the legislative process narrated by Senator Bob Dole.
Simons Family Media Center
Affectionately referred to as Simons Media Room, this space is a multi-use room perfect for film or video screenings, classes, private dinners or luncheons, workshops, conferences and more. Special features include retractable window shades for optimizing lighting, a wall size white board, projector and screen.