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.