Municipal Auditorium is a large, multi-purpose facility in Kansas City, Missouri with three halls: The Arena, Music Hall, and Little Theatre. It opened in 1936 and features art deco architecture and architectural details.
Municipal Auditorium was one of the buildings built in 1934 as part of a "Ten Year Plan" championed by various local politicians including Harry S Truman and Thomas Pendergast. Other buildings in the plan included the Kansas City City Hall and the Kansas City branch of the Jackson County Courthouse.
It replaced Convention Hall which was directly across the street and was torn down for parking in what is now called the Barney Allis Plaza.
The art deco architecture features were a characteristic design by Hoit Price & Barnes which also designed the Kansas City Power and Light Building at about the same time. The other architect firm in the design Gentry, Voskamp & Neville was to design the Truman Library.
When the building opened in 1935, it was called by the Architectural Record "one of the 10 best buildings of the world that year" In 2000, the Princeton Architectural Press called it one of the 500 most important architectural works in the United States.
Municipal Auditorium is connected to the H. Roe Bartle Convention Center by way of skywalks over 13th and Central streets. An underground walkway through a public parking garage provides access to the Kansas City Marriott Downtown, Holiday Inn Aladdin Hotel, and the Folly Theater.
The Arena, nicknamed "Municipal," has hosted the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament since 2003, held every year in early March. When Kansas City hosts the Big 12 tournament, women’s games take place here. It is currently home to the NAIA Men’s Division I Basketball National Tournament. It was played here from 1937-1975, when it moved into Kemper, and has been home since the Tournament moved back to Kansas City from Tulsa in 2002.
As of 2007, Municipal Auditorium had hosted more NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games (83), regional finals (13) and Final Fours (9) than any other facility. The arena also hosted three of the first four Final Fours, but has not hosted a tournament game since 1964.
The 19,500-seat Kemper Arena was built in 1974 to accommodate Kansas City’s professional basketball teams that had been playing at the Auditorium. The Kansas City Kings played their first two seasons at the Auditorium, then returned for the majority of the 1979-80 season after the roof of Kemper Arena caved in on June 4, 1979.
It is home to the University of Missouri–Kansas City Kangaroos basketball team.
The Kansas City Music Hall is the home of the 1927 Robert-Morton Theatre Pipe Organ that originally was in the Kansas City Midland Theatre. The organ is owned and maintained by Kansas City Theatre Pipe Organ, Inc. (www.kc-theatreorgan.org).