Life has changed drastically since 1954. Computers have gone from an oddity to a necessity, mankind has walked on the moon and some 1954 Kansas University graduates have reached retirement.
But the research laboratories in KU's Malott Hall have remained the same until now. A new National Science Foundation grant of about $300,000, with matching university funds bringing the total to almost $600,000, will be used to modernize and expand research laboratories built in 1954 when Malott was erected.
"The labs covered by the grant are currently devoted to graduate, undergraduate and post-doctoral student research," said Jack Landgrebe, KU chemistry professor and grant project manager.
Landgrebe said about 17,500 square feet of space, comprising 35 labs, would be remodeled or added. The new labs will be built on the sixth floor of Malott, which previously housed the science library.
The money will be used to provide additional safety equipment, such as ventilation hoods, replace cracked and pitted work surfaces and reduce overcrowding, which has caused some important instruments to be located nearly a mile from Malott Hall, on west campus.
The grant money will be used only for remodeling and buying fixtures, such as work benches, not for portable equipment or instruments. The work, which has already begun, will take about two years and will be done by KU facilities operations employees.
"We are very appreciative of the efforts of our congressional representatives, especially Representative Dan Glickman, who serves on the science and technology committee, which is responsible for approving the NSF budget," said Richard Givens, chemistry department chairman. "The modernization program will make our chemistry graduate program more attractive and competitive to young people considering research careers in science."