Archive for Monday, March 17, 2008

Prefabricated units arrive in Greensburg

KU graduate students to put art center together by May 4, anniversary of tornado

March 17, 2008, 10:00 p.m. Updated March 18, 2008, 12:02 p.m.


Ready to go to Greensburg

Students, media and friends arrived at the Farmland Plant by 7 a.m. Monday. Soon thereafter, the skies opened up and rain poured down, but it didn't stop the Studio 804 students from packing up, loading their cargo and moving out. Enlarge video

Studio 804 goes to Greensburg

Journal-World Reporter Jonathan Kealing went with the KU Studio 804 class to Greensburg. Take a look at his trip, as narrated by KU Professor Dan Rockhill. Enlarge video

Students, project arrive in Greensburg

Eight hours and 300 miles after leaving Lawrence, students in KU's Studio 804 class are one step closer to completing a project for tornado-ravaged Greensburg. Enlarge video

— Eight hours and 320 miles separate the students in Kansas University's Studio 804 from the warehouse where they built a new arts center for this tornado-ravaged community.

After hours of driving wind and pounding rain, the students' yearlong project has arrived in its new home. Each year, students in Studio 804 build a structure - typically a house - but this year they designed and built the 547 Art Center.

Stacy Barnes, a former Lawrence resident and Lawrence Arts Center employee, came home to Greensburg after the tornado and will be its first director.

"To be part of my town's rebuilding, I couldn't imagine not being here," Barnes said. "After living in Lawrence, it's interesting that a Lawrence group is the one building us this arts center."

KU professor Dan Rockhill, the instructor for Studio 804, said moving this building from Lawrence to Greensburg was the longest trek he's ever had to take a building on. It was made longer both in time and distance because the building's seven oversized loads needed the open spaces of remote rural highways.

Still, even with those precautions, the trek wasn't without incident. Rockhill said, however, that the problems were minor.

"I'm delighted everything seems to be intact," he said. "We have a couple of loose pieces, but considering the thousands of pieces we used" that's not bad.

A car of three students followed the trucks from Lawrence to Greensburg, stopping at least twice to reseal parts of the building modules from the weather. At one point, north of Ottawa, Tim Overstreet climbed on top of one of the buildings and nailed down the weather-proof membrane, while being pounded by constant rain.

At another point, west of Council Grove, the students had to resecure some of the temporary siding on the building.

"The weather has been the main obstacle," said Simon Mance, an 804 student who arrived in Greensburg before the convoy finally pulled into town. "A lot of us are really tired, but we can't be tired. We're really excited to be here even if we are tired."

The students plan to have the building complete in time for an unveiling on May 4, one year to the day after the tornado tore the town apart. Between now and then, they will live in dorms at Pratt County Community College and commute 30 minutes to Greensburg every day to work on the building.

"This is just one more sign of progress," Barnes said. "It's just one more sign we're rebuilding."

Barnes said the plan is to take over from the student architects in May and be ready to offer the first classes this summer. Eventually the center will include exhibits, performances and classes.

"We're going to start small and do a few things, but do them well," she said.

That seems to be the theme in Greensburg these days. Though the area surrounding the new art center remains mostly barren, aside from the nearby Big Well - billed as the world's largest hand-dug well, there are signs of rebirth.

Small signs.


BigPrune 9 years, 11 months ago

It sounds like Greensburg must be completely rebuilt since they are getting a new arts center.

Haiku_Cuckoo 9 years, 11 months ago

And to think, this new center, prefabricated in Lawrnece, wouldn't be good enough for Lawrence. This building could be bullt next to the East Lawrence rec center as a branch library. :.but in a community of elitists and socialists, it wouldn't be good enough. Not expensive enough.

Actually, there are numerous Rockhill buildings in Lawrence. Unfortunately, many of them are inhabited by people who don't take care of them.

BigAl 9 years, 11 months ago

Great outlook there, hawkperched..... Thanks for whining away about the "elitists and socialists" of Lawrence. However, it was those people that made this possible. There were a lot of donations by local people and businesses for this project. So, while you are complaining and whining, other people are getting it done.

BigAl 9 years, 11 months ago

I realize this is old but it really applies here: Do you want some cheese with that whine?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 11 months ago

"It's good enough for Kiowa county but in no way, shape, or form would we even put something like that in Eudora:..".

I have to disagree-- with the ugly building we ended up with as our new arts center, I have no reason to believe this particular design would be rejected here.

Tom McCune 9 years, 11 months ago

Wow, Hawk. You remember Penn House? You must be as old as I am. I worked on that one. Must have been 1982 or something like that....

BigAl 9 years, 11 months ago

All I see here is a couple of sad, pathetic little whiners...

billbodiggens 9 years, 11 months ago

Hey Pogo, give it rest or at least find out what you are talking about.

Actually the Posse Comitatus has always been and still is more active in the squats of northeastern Kansas then it has ever been in any other region of Kansas, Just ask the KBI and the local court systems.

On the other hand, Greensburg does not need an arts center, they need houses to live in. This is something that some people in Lawrence wanted them to have, not what they needed.

officeboy 9 years, 11 months ago

I am a bit amazed and amused at all of the previous postings. All this time I thought the Lawrence area was the center of Higher education. The fine folks in Kiowa County don't deserve the bashing you are handing out. They didn't ask for the Arts Center, it was offered. To their dismay, and contrary to news reports that made it sound as if it were a gift, they have been asked to pay the fine folks at 804 or whatever it is, nearly $300,000.00 dollars for this fine act of love from the KU community. Go Portland State.

VICKI WILLIAMS 9 years, 11 months ago


VICKI WILLIAMS 9 years, 11 months ago


seahorselover 9 years, 11 months ago

I think you all are missing the boat here. It's not about whether Lawrence would have taken the building. It's about the students in Studio 804 specifically wanting to put it in Greensburg, and building it for that purpose. At least if Greensburg is rebuilding, it is choosing to take the opportunity to make itself better by having environmentally friendly building requirements and including an arts center to increase arts education. By the way, the town is NOT rebuilt yet.

Linda Aikins 9 years, 11 months ago

Pogo, I may have to get medieval on your hiney. That town has more closeness and good ole' Kansas hospitality than you could even dream about. I'm so proud of the 804 group for doing their part. Apparently you didn't learn about kindness and generosity when you were/will be growing up.

Maybe this publicity will get others to do something too? I suggest all of you negatives back off and let them have some fun. Heaven knows, they've deserved it. What would you do if they found your neighbor in a tree with no skin left and about half his body?

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