Archive for Tuesday, August 11, 2009

KU completing renovation of chancellor’s residence

Gray-Little moving into residence today

Leo Adame, of Joyce's Painting Company, touches up along the stairwell bannister at the KU chancellor's residence on Tuesday.

Leo Adame, of Joyce's Painting Company, touches up along the stairwell bannister at the KU chancellor's residence on Tuesday.

August 11, 2009


Chancellor's residence gets makeover

As the new KU Chancellor prepares for the start of the new school year, the Outlook on the KU campus is preparing as well. The chancellor's residence received new paint and renovations during the summer. Enlarge video

The Outlook, the KU chancellor's residence, at 1532 Lilac Lane

The Outlook, the KU chancellor's residence, at 1532 Lilac Lane

Tour offers look in to chancellor home

Take a rare first-person walk-through of the main level of the house on the hill normally occupied by the Kansas University Chancellor. Bob Hemenway has moved out, and the home is undergoing interior renovations before Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little moves in. Enlarge video

Here are some of the renovations made this summer to the chancellor’s residence at Kansas University.

First floor Paint walls and trim, new kitchen countertops, refinish wood flooring and add new window roller shades. Second floor Painting walls and trim, carpeting for two rooms, refinish wood flooring, change and update some light fixtures, update closet and update and upgrade master bathroom. Third floor Paint walls and trim and carpeting for two rooms.

As incoming Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little prepares to begin her tenure at Kansas University, her new house has received a facelift.

Gray-Little, who is scheduled to begin moving in to the house at 1532 Lilac Lane Wednesday, provided some input as to color choices for carpeting and paint, but overall had little to do with the redecorating process, said Dale Seuferling, president of the KU Endowment Association, which is directing the repairs.

KU officials led the Journal-World on a tour of the house’s first floor on Tuesday, showing off freshly painted walls and shiny new kitchen countertops.

In a situation akin to the White House, however, no one is allowed on the upper two floors, which are reserved for private living space. So, we didn’t have a chance to see the refurbished master bath that cost $20,000, or where the new chancellor will watch TV.

Gray-Little met briefly with organizers who were renovating the house, and provided some general color choices, but didn’t make specific room-to-room suggestions.

The association took advantage of an interim period without a chancellor living in the house to undertake the interior renovations, Seuferling said.

The three-story, 26-room chancellor’s residence, called The Outlook, was constructed in 1912 by Jabez B. Watkins as a residence for himself and his wife, Elizabeth Miller Watkins.

She donated the building to KU in her will in 1939, and Chancellor Deane W. Malott was the first to live in the home.

Today, although KU Endowment provided funds for repairs, the state owns the building. The first floor is used for receptions and gatherings while the upper two floors are private living space.

All the work was paid for with private funds from KU Endowment, totaling about $130,000. The association has contracts with several firms to provide labor for the work, which included painting trim and walls, installing new carpets and a remodeling a bathroom on the second floor.

“Like any old house, we needed to perform some maintenance,” said Mark Reiske, KU associate director of design and construction management.

Renovations to the bathroom, which involved incorporating a nearby closet and hallway to allow for a bigger bathroom space, were the most extensive, costing about $20,000, Seuferling said. Other repairs remain scheduled for later, including to the heating and air-conditioning system after the summer, when the air-conditioning system will no longer be needed, he said.

Gray-Little and her husband, Shade Little, will provide the furniture for the top two floors, while KU provides most of the furniture on the first floor. New artwork, too, will be destined for the walls of the building, selected by Gray-Little and provided by KU’s Spencer Museum of Art.

In an interview earlier this summer, Gray-Little said she looked forward to moving into the home, calling it “a beautiful house in a beautiful spot.”

Reiske said the color of the trim has stayed mostly the same — white — while other areas of the house have been painted in colors to complement the artwork that will be arriving soon.

Normally, Reiske said, when the house springs a leak or needs some other repair, KU’s maintenance workers fix the problem, though with these renovations, workers were already tied up with preparing classrooms for students’ arrival, so outside contractors were brought in.

The renovations are the first major improvements to the home since 2005, when exterior work was done, including asbestos removal and installation of new roof tiles, window frames and windows. That work totaled about $270,000.

The house is just one of the perks that come with being chancellor. In addition to her $425,000 salary, Gray-Little is also given the use of a car provided by the KU Endowment Association and a membership to the Lawrence Country Club to be used for official university business.


Boeing 8 years, 10 months ago

I just think that $130k could go to a lot more worthy causes. A student could have his or her whole tuition paid for with the cost of Gray-Little's new bathroom...

uofk03 8 years, 10 months ago

Glad to hear they got everything good to go for the new chancellor. It takes resources to be competitive and get people like Dr. Gray-Little.

Here's one jayhawk excited for her arrival!

swunruh 8 years, 10 months ago

Good for the Endowment Assn. The chancellor's residence should be first class to bring in first class talent.

Boeing 8 years, 10 months ago

uofk03, we have no clue how good she will be. Can we not wait until she proves herself to decide if she is any good? I personally have been let down by people who were hyped up before, I'm not doing it again. She has to prove her worth to me first before I'll call her a good leader.

uofk03 8 years, 10 months ago

Boeing. Oh i definitely agree that she has yet to prove herself at KU. Nonetheless, she had a stellar resume and reputation at UNC and I'd be willing (as a donor to KU Endowment) to do whatever I can to attract that top-rate talent.

Bassetlover 8 years, 10 months ago

This is great news! I was in the Chancellor's home a few years ago for the very first time and was underwhelmed at the decor and furnishings on the first floor. It just seemed like a hodge-podge of things thrown together, with many items downright shoddy. The Chancellor and visiting guests deserve better and these upgrades are definitely a great step in the right direction.

iLikelawrence 8 years, 10 months ago

I wonder if there is a deposit to put down to live there. But since it's not owned by First Management I doubt it!

puddleglum 8 years, 10 months ago

ilikelawrence....good post!

yeah, did hemmenway get his deposit back?

wow! another wonderful display of wasted money

middleoftheroad 8 years, 10 months ago

Because most on this board seem to be unaware of the workings of donated money, funds aren't available for use as KUEA sees fit. Donors are typically VERY specific about how the money is spent. Large donations are toward scholarship, building maintenence, or something that is near and dear to the donors. So this means that the money used for this wouldn't have been able to go toward scholarships or student loans.

While yes, that is a lot of money, it's an old house that has had the same resident for many years. I doubt they were able to re-do the floors while Hemmenway was there so a lot of this work has probably been all combined into one large update.

I will continue to donate my small amount to KUEA and support my alma mater as our new chancellor is a great catch for this university!

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

The house is nearly 100 years old, and improvements are always needed. I mean, I could buy a new house with 130,000 which was spent, but if I had a house like that, and the money to update it, I probably would. Part of Lawrence and KU history.

lawrencian 8 years, 10 months ago

The trick is -- if you want your donation to be used for something specific, then you tell Endowment "I'm donating X money for Y purpose." Works for me!

Bladerunner 8 years, 10 months ago

Another UNC person coming to Kansas to gain experiance. Probably just a matter of time before she leaves us to return to her home also.

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