A $500,000 gift from local residents Charles H. and Hortense C. Oldfather will help Kansas University purchase the Centron Corp. building.
The two-story Centron building, 1921 W. Ninth, will be used by KU's theatre and film department. Glenn Pierce, department chairman, said the 18,000 square-foot building contains what KU's film program requires: office space, editing rooms, a 6,000 square-foot sound stage, sound editing facilities, a screen room and plenty of work space.
The name of the building will be changed to Oldfather Studios. It replace the Joliffe Hall studio on the KU campus, which has deteriorated physically. Studio classes conducted at the old First National Bank at Eighth and Massachusetts streets also will be moved to the new location.
Pierce said the Oldfather gift constitutes the most significant event for the theatre and film department since the construction of Murphy Hall in 1957 and is the "answer to our prayers."
The Oldfathers both graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1941. Charles Oldfather earned bachelor's degrees in political science and Greek. In 1948, he graduated from Harvard Law School and joined a law firm in Milwaukee. In 1950, he joined the KU School of Law faculty. Hortense Oldfather earned bachelor's degree in history and French.
Charles Oldfather frequently acts in the Lawrence area. In 1989, Hortense Oldfather established the Charles H. Oldfather Scholarship in law to honor her husband. In 1986, the Oldfathers received the Kiwanis Club Substantial Citizen Award and, in 1990, the Bert Nash Community Health Center Pioneer Award for dedicated service.
The Centron building and the 1.75 acres it sits on have been appraised at $640,000. However, attempts to determine this morning whether that is the purchase price were unsuccessful.