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Archive for Thursday, October 15, 1998

UNIVERSITY TO LAUNCH CLASSROOM OVERHAULS

October 15, 1998

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Two massive projects funded by the state's Crumbling Classrooms program are set to begin at KU this fall.

With about $20 million on the table for renovation and expansion projects at Kansas University's Murphy Hall and Joseph R. Pearson Hall, administrators are eager to get moving.

``It's looking good,'' university architect Warren Corman said. ``These were the two big projects that were funded from (the state's) Crumbling Classrooms.''

Bids for Murphy and JRP are in the process of being awarded. Construction for both projects is set to begin early next month.

Six weeks ago, initial bids for Murphy Hall, home of the KU School of Fine Arts, came back $500,000 over budget. The most recent bids, which KU received Friday, were right at the $7.5 million target. The Law Company, based in Wichita, had the lowest.

``I'm just tickled to death,'' said Steve Anderson, chair of KU's department of music and dance and project coordinator. The Murphy Hall plan will unfold in two phases.

The first involves construction of a 52,000-square-foot facility south of the current structure. It will connect to the east wing of the building and contain a music library, three rehearsal halls, studios, classrooms, offices and a new technology center.

In the second phase, old rehearsal rooms will be rebuilt to accommodate opera and music theater. The space in the northeast part of the building that currently houses the library will be stripped and retooled for music education and music therapy.

The new building should be ready by May 2000, with the renovated portions of the original structure to follow in August and December of 2000.

For renovation of JRP, future home of the KU School of Education, the lowest bid came from Topeka-based Ferrell Construction, contractors for the projects at Memorial Stadium, Lewis Hall and Templin Hall. Ferrell's bid was about $450,000 under the $10.5 million estimate.

The board of regents approved a total of $14 million for the project under the Crumbling Classrooms program. Remaining funds will be used for architect fees, the building's control system and for contingency items.

The new education school will include 11 classrooms ranging in size from 25 to 75 seats, as well as 11 seminar rooms, a 100-seat auditorium and a new science laboratory to demonstrate the principles of physics and other disciplines.

``We don't have that at all right now,'' said Karen Gallagher, dean of the School of Education.

The facility will also be equipped with an extensive resource library and the latest in information technology, allowing teachers to use high-tech methods during lectures and presentations and allowing the school to communicate with education schools in Pittsburg, Emporia and other parts of the state.

It all adds up to a major difference over the school's current home in Bailey Hall.

``This building, it's a wonderful location but it doesn't match what we're trying to do,'' Gallagher said. ``It's a big deal to think about showing a video, let alone plugging in your laptop and doing a Power-Point presentation.''

Gallagher and KU officials will now begin the quest to raise about $1 million for furniture and other program-specific equipment.

The school is expected to be in its new home by summer 2000.

-- Matt Gowen's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail address is mgowen@ljworld.com.

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