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Archive for Tuesday, December 1, 1998

MURPHY HALL EXPANSION WAITS IN WINGS

December 1, 1998

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A $10 million addition to Murphy Hall will give students and faculty some elbow room.

Officials at Kansas University are closer to opening a visitor center and are trumpeting the start of construction on a massive addition to Murphy Hall.

The $1.3 million center at 15th and Iowa streets was chiseled from vacant space in an old dormitory.

"It's been a great reuse of an old cafeteria and kitchen," said Warren Corman, university architect.

KU's admissions staff will spend December moving from Strong Hall to the center in Templin Hall. The facility includes a 120-seat auditorium, information desks and displays. Visitors will have exclusive access to a 100-space parking lot. A shuttle service will take folks around campus.

"The KU Visitors Center will become the front door of campus," said Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, KU's associate provost for academic affairs.

Corman said the center should be ready for the spring semester, a few months behind schedule.

A drive down 15th Street to Naismith Drive takes campus guests to the site of another high-profile construction site. The $10 million addition to Murphy for use by music faculty and students is expected to take about 16 months to complete. It should be fully functional in spring 2000, Corman said.

"Murphy was designed back in the 1950s ... for a much smaller university, a much smaller music school and a band with about 60 kids. Now it has about 260," Corman said.

Band members rehearse in an acoustic environment so inferior that some students have worn ear plugs like those worn by people on firing ranges.

"They've been struggling for practice space for years," Corman said. "The music library has been too small for many years as well."

The Murphy addition, located at the intersection of Naismith Drive and Sunnyside Avenue, will be financed with money from the Crumbling Classrooms initiative.

Under the Crumbling Classrooms program, the Legislature authorized millions of dollars in bonds to pay for a backlog of construction and renovation projects at six Kansas universities.

-- Tim Carpenter's phone message number is 832-7155. His e-mail address is tcarpenter@ljworld.com.

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