Archive for Friday, April 2, 1999


April 2, 1999


KU is investing $100 million on major construction projects to improve academic and athletic facilities and services on campus.

The east and west sides of the old Joseph R. Pearson residence hall look as if both were peeled like an banana.

It was necessary to destroy external vestiges of the dorm to clear way for a $12 million renovation and expansion of Pearson Hall for occupancy by the School of Education.

Education faculty are in Bailey Hall -- last renovated in 1956 -- and a handful of other campus buildings.

"It will be the first time ever the School of Education is together," said Karen Gallagher, education dean.

The project is among a long list of major construction initiatives on campus. Total price tag for the big-ticket items: $100 million.

"Basically, the whole campus is under construction," said Tom Hutton, director of KU's office of university relations.

Here is a summary of KU's rising architectural profile:

  • Sports facilities -- $40 million.

Movement of huge cranes signal progress on the $14.5 million renovation and expansion of Memorial Stadium's press box. That work followed the $10.5 million phase one of the stadium project, which focused on fan accommodations.

The baseball team is awaiting completion of a $1.5 million rehabilitation of the diamond next to Allen Fieldhouse.

KU plans to relocate its softball field as part of a $24.5 million facility enhancement program. The new $2.5 million complex will be northeast of Memorial Stadium. A $6 million track and field area will replace the old softball field.

That work will coincide with improvements to soccer and football practice fields south of Anschutz Pavilion, construction of a new $6 million weight and strength center next to Anschutz and a $1.3 million renovation of Anschutz, including installation of a new Astroturf surface.

  • Learned Hall -- $15.7 million.

The Kansas Board of Regents granted KU authorization to proceed with private fund-raising and architectural planning of a new building southeast of Learned Hall, headquarters for the School of Engineering.

Most of the 74,000-square-foot, five- or six-story building would be devoted to activities of faculty in electrical engineering and computer science. These professors are currently split among several locations on campus.

The first floor of the new building will contain the dean's office and a state-of-the-art auditorium with seating for about 250 students. A tentative opening date is 2001.

  • Parking garage -- $11.7 million.

The much-anticipated garage north of the Kansas Union will offer 850 new parking spaces in a heavily traveled area of campus. The garage will serve the Kansas Union, Memorial Stadium, Spencer Museum and Adams Alumni Center.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said the parking facility's architecture would match existing styles in the neighborhood and wouldn't be a concrete-and-steel eyesore.

The site has been cleared, but building hasn't started.

Campus planners are studying options for constructing a walkway that would link the Kansas Union to the garage.

  • Murphy Hall -- $10 million.

A drive along Sunnyside Avenue leads campus guests to the addition and remodeling project at Murphy Hall for music faculty and students.

"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," said Warren Corman, university architect.

The addition -- scheduled to be completed next year -- will contain three rehearsal halls, a music library, a computer technology center, classrooms, offices for instrumental ensemble directors and some applied faculty, a recording studio, a sheet music library for instrumental music and an instrument storage and repair area.

  • Kansas Union -- $4 million.

The main student union at KU will be the site of $4 million renovations and additions.

Officials at the Kansas Union are developing design plans for the work. The goals include expansion of office space for student organizations as well as lounge and gallery areas.

Under consideration is introduction of a student resource center, which would contain computers, telephones and fax machines. Union services -- bookstore, dining and entertainment -- also might be renovated.

  • Hilltop Child Care Center -- $3.5 million.

The Board of Regents authorized the university in January to proceed with construction of a new Hilltop Child Care Center, which could be finished by fall 2000. It's been in the planning stage for years.

"It will be a dramatic improvement over what we have now," said Pat Pisani, Hilltop director.

The new center, financed with student fees and Hilltop revenue, will be next to Burge Union and the housing complex for students with families. Capacity will be 230, about 50 percent greater than the current facility, which is across Jayhawk Boulevard from the Kansas Union.

  • Scholarship hall -- $2.2 million.

Koli and Margaret Amini of San Antonio donated $1.5 million for construction of a scholarship hall for 50 women. In 1990, the couple gave $1 million to KU for the Amini Scholarship Hall for men, which opened in 1992.

The new women's hall will have the same design, layout and architectural elements as its neighbor to the south at 13th and Louisiana streets.

Margaret Amini said the couple wanted to enhance scholarship living opportunities for KU women.

"K.K. and I both believe that democracy is one of the great lessons to be learned in life, and that is very evident in the way the scholarship halls function, where everyone has an equal share in the responsibilities and an equal voice in the way the hall is run," she said.

  • Visitors center -- $1.1 million

In January, KU opened the university's first visitor center on the first floor of Templin Hall. It was chiseled from empty space on the west side of the residence hall at 15th and Iowa streets.

"It's been a great re-use of an old cafeteria and kitchen," Corman said.

KU's admissions staff moved from Strong Hall to Templin. The facility includes a 120-seat auditorium, information desks and displays. Guests have exclusive access to a 100-space parking lot. A shuttle service takes folks around campus.

Meanwhile, the $5.9 million renovation of Lewis Hall should be completed in time to reopen the dormitory this fall semester. It is a mirror image of Templin, which was renovated into suites for students in 1997.

In addition, KU officials are planning construction of the $6 million Dole Institute, which would house the papers of former U.S. Sen. Robert Dole, R-Kan.

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

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