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Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2008

KU kiosk to take on expanded functions

The kiosk on Kansas University's campus will become a satellite office for KU  Info and the University Daily Kansan.

The kiosk on Kansas University's campus will become a satellite office for KU Info and the University Daily Kansan.

August 16, 2008

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Students barely notice the drab brown kiosk when they stroll down Jayhawk Boulevard.

But next year, Kansas University will transform the structure that stands directly across the street from Bailey Hall into a satellite office for KU Info and the University Daily Kansan.

"It's being renovated to serve the purpose of why it was originally built," said Curtis Marsh, program director for KU Info.

The nearly $40,000 budget will include a structural renovation of the 6-by-6-foot space. The makeover will include testing for hazardous materials, new roof construction, heating and cooling installation, and significant concrete foundation repair.

The finished kiosk will also have Internet and phone connections and a television screen outside to display announcements from student groups and organizations. In the future, the Kansan might install cameras that would broadcast a campus feed during the day on www.kansan.com, said Malcolm Gibson, general manager and news adviser for the Kansan.

"(If you) sit out here during regular semesters, there's a lot of traffic," Gibson said.

Although the funds have not been finalized, the Kansan, KU Info and the university will divide the cost.

"It's an opportunity for all campus entities," Gibson said.

From funds donated by the class of 1950, the kiosk was originally built and introduced as an informational center, similar to KU Info's headquarters in the Kansas Union. But for more than 30 years, it hasn't been used for much more than space to post fliers.

The Kansan and KU Info will staff the kiosk Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 4 p.m., depending on workflow for employees. Marsh and Gibson also plan to have the kiosk open during special events, including student orientation and Commencement.

"It's my hope to have (the kiosk open) when campus is most active," Marsh said.

Information about KU schools and buildings will be available at the kiosk, and visitors or new students also could receive directions. Gibson hopes to make any information related to KU available at the kiosk.

"(You'll be able to) ask the same kinds of questions as in the Kansas Union," Marsh said.

By enhancing its visual presence on campus, the kiosk also will help the Kansan and KU Info engage its audience. Kansan copies will be available at the kiosk, and advertising representatives will help students and businesses place classified advertisements.

Right now, KU's construction and design management department is finalizing specific plans in preparation for the physical construction of the kiosk. Marsh said that KU hopes to have construction completed during spring 2009.

"(We're) working on making this a center of activity," Gibson said.

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