A three-story scholarship hall with a porch and crawl space would fit in best with the Oread neighborhood, a group of Kansas University and community representatives determined Wednesday.
But even in a best-case scenario, the new hall in the 1300 block of Ohio Street would stand out from the surrounding houses, officials said.
"You can't make a duck out of a chicken," said Warren Corman, university architect. "You can't make a 16,000-square-foot scholarship hall look like a house. We're doing our darndest."
Two groups -- a campus building committee and community advisory committee -- have been overseeing the design process for the first of two scholarship halls on the block, which would be built beginning next year and open in fall 2005. The first hall likely would be near the middle of the block, just east of the Amini scholarship halls, 1318 La.
Some residents from the surrounding neighborhood have resisted the construction since KU proposed knocking down four houses and two apartment buildings the residents said added to the historical value of the area. The houses were eventually demolished in October.
The committees selected a design Wednesday that is three stories, with two separate modules connected by a smaller bridge area. It also has a courtyard on the west side for students to gather.
The first floor has a dining area, living room, kitchen and recreation room. Students' rooms, on the second and third levels, are in suites of varying sizes, housing four to eight people.
Scholarship halls offer students reduced living rates because they also perform jobs at the hall.
The committees chose the current plan over a two-story plan in three modules that was slightly shorter but was spread out over more area.
The rejected plan left about 50 feet of "green space" on the north end of the block. The accepted plan has a scholarship hall closer to the corner of 13th and Ohio streets, with more courtyard space between the halls.
Nadia Zhiri, principal for Treanor Architects, the design firm working on the project, said architects would continue to find ways for the hall to fit in with the surrounding neighborhood. That includes details such as doors, the angle of the roof and the type of windows, she said.
Ken Stoner, KU's director of student housing, said the final conceptual design plan would be done in April, when the committees again would meet to discuss details.
KU has an agreement with the city of Lawrence that the plan would be approved by the Campus Historic Preservation Board and the city's Historic Resources Commission.
Candice Davis, president of the Oread Neighborhood Assn., said she was pleased with the design process.
"I think they really tried to be fair," she said. "It's still going to be a big building. It's difficult to visualize the end result. They've been willing to honor some of our requests even though it may not fit in entirely."