A tour of Sprint's Kansas headquarters (photos)

In addition to seeing Sprint's cell phone testing labs, CNET also toured the carrier's collegelike headquarters outside Kansas City, Mo. They don't call it a "campus" for nothing.

Kent German
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
1 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Welcome to Sprint

Overland Park, Kan.--In this upscale Kansas City, Mo., suburb, Sprint operates its corporate headquarters and product testing labs. Rather than stacking its employees in a downtown skyscraper, the carrier choose to build a "campus" of low-rise buildings that sprawl across 200 acres of an almost rural-like landscape that includes an 8-acre lake and 6,000 trees.

The first buildings were completed in 1997, and the complex continued to grow over the next few years. Before it was built, Sprint occupied almost 50 offices across the Kansas City area. Thus, the goal was to centralize operations and make employee communication more efficient. When construction started in the mid 1990s, it became the largest building project in Midwest history and briefly was the largest building project in the world after Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok Airport opened in 1998.

Today, the campus houses 7,000 Sprint employees, but has a capacity for double that. Though the population has fluctuated over the past decade, a large influx of employees relocated to Overland Park from Nextel's headquarters in Reston., Va. following the 2005 merger. The campus now has its own ZIP code and would be the 27th largest city in Kansas if it was incorporated.

2 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Executive offices

The campus was designed by Hiller Architecture in Princeton, N.J. Now known as RMJM Hiller, the firm serves as the North American branch for the Scottish architects RJMJ. That firm designed such notable projects as the Scottish Parliament and the Falkirk Wheel rotating boat life, also in Scotland.

Though almost half of the complex is open space, there are 21 offices and service buildings that encompass 4 million square feet. That also includes 88 elevators and 1,569 toilets. Here you can see the main "Reception Courtyard" with the building that houses the offices of the carrier's key executives, including CEO Dan Hesse. As space has opened in other buildings, Sprint has leased the offices to other tenants including JPMorgan and Apria Healthcare.

3 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Network Operations Center

The carrier's main Network Operations Center, or "NOC," occupies this unassuming building. Here is where employees monitor the nationwide network, identify problems, and deploy repairs. Though we weren't allowed to take pictures, we did go inside to see how it all works.

In the center of a huge, well-lit room is a "bridge," where command employees keep watch over banks of monitors and busy technicians. The center is staffed 24 hours per day and employees spend little time away from their stations during their 8-hour shifts. In fact, the person in charge must carry a cell phone if he or she leaves to get food or use the facilities.

Though the room is not underground, it has its own power source, and the walls and floors are reinforced. The center will boost staff during disasters and in advance of big events like the Super Bowl and holidays like Mother's Day and New Year's Eve. In extreme emergencies, the staff can relocate to a backup center in downtown Kansas City. Though it's not normally staffed, the backup center can be brought online in 45 minutes. Sprint operates a separate NOC in Atlanta to monitor its roaming networks.

4 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Where's the dorm?

There's a reason it's called a campus; the complex really looks like a university. Green lawns and red bricks predominate, and there's even a 175-foot clock tower that chimes on the hour. You'll also find a 3,000-seat amphitheater, a "town square" with outdoor dining tables, several coffee bars and cafes, an auditorium, and a "relaxation courtyard." I didn't quite get what made the last place so relaxing.
5 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Ship till you drop

It wouldn't be the carrier's headquarters without a full-service Sprint Store. In the "Campus Shops" arcade, employees also can visit a florist, a convenience store, a post office, an office supply shop, a dry cleaners, a pharmacy, and a credit union.
6 of 15 Kent German/CNET

City of fountains

And it wouldn't be Kansas City without a large fountain. In fact, the campus has four.
7 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Get some exercise

The building on the right houses a full gym with a basketball court, an indoor running track, a weight room, and cardio equipment. In nice weather, employees also can use 1.02 miles of walking trails and 6.92 miles of sidewalks. I would have gone for a run, but it was 100 degrees during my visit.
8 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Winter Garden

The Winter Garden is used for receptions and special events. Thanks to the powerful air conditioning, it was deliciously cool even in summer.
9 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Executive Briefing Center

The swanky Executive Briefing Center is used for executive conferences, meetings with partners and vendors, and to showcase Sprint's technology and devices. The carrier also operates centers in New York, Silicon Valley, Reston, and Atlanta.
10 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Going green

A long wall in the center had displays of Sprint's various initiatives like its green campaign (pictured here) and disaster response team. Keeping with the green theme, 90 percent of the campus's power comes form a wind farm in western Kansas.
11 of 15 Kent German/CNET

New phones

Other displays showed Sprint's current phones, from simple CDMA models to new 4G handsets.
12 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Even some iDEN

Though the carrier's iDEN efforts are largely centered in Reston, several of its iDEN models were on display in Overland Park as well.
13 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Home town

Sprint doesn't hesitate to show its Kansas City roots. As this displays shows, the city's location almost in the center of the United States offers relatively short distances to most major cities. And of course, there's BBQ.
14 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Nascar trophy

The briefing center also has a Nascar trophy and even an Emmy, which Sprint won in 2005 for engineering development of multimedia services.
15 of 15 Kent German/CNET

Wall of patents

Outside one of its testing labs, the carrier has the patents it's collected on display.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos