Lawrence Preservation Alliance will be host to a public presentation of the Kansas University Campus Heritage Plan at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.The complete plan is available online at www.dcm.ku.edu/planning.
Officials at Kansas University are taking steps to preserve the historical and natural beauty of the Lawrence campus.
A Campus Heritage Plan at KU outlines ways to maintain existing features while being mindful of future development.
The plan was developed using a $130,000 grant from the Getty Foundation.
“It looks at the cultural landscapes and heritage of this campus,” said Jeff Weinberg, assistant to the chancellor, who helped with the plan. “It’s not just about bricks and mortar — it also has to do with trees, grass and flowers.”
While some parts of the plan will take additional funds to complete — such as the renovation of some historical buildings like Spooner and Dyche halls — others simply call for a more watchful eye when new development occurs.
Those who put the plan together stress it’s not all about preservation — often it’s just about how to mesh development with an eye toward maintaining the campus’ historic nature.
Some parts of the plan focus on preserving views on campus, such as the one behind Spencer Research Library, overlooking the campanile and Memorial Stadium. Some of the campus’ best views have been obstructed over time, Weinberg said, and it’s sometimes accidental.
Weinberg said the provost and the chancellor are reviewing a new set of policies that would focus on implementing some recommendations of the plan.
“The chancellor has indicated his support” of the plan, Weinberg said. “Now we’ve asked, ‘How can we make this work on our campus?’”
Tom Waechter, assistant director for planning with KU’s department of design and construction management, pointed out some specific landscape elements the plan identified. Some are mostly lost, but could be restored with little cost and effort, he said. As recently as the early 1980s, for example, elm trees lined Jayhawk Boulevard, Waechter said.
“Those elm trees go back to planting plans made in the 1920s,” he said. “It took 40 years to get the 20 years we had them.”
Even in tight budget times, the document is useful, its developers say.
“There are opportunities to resurrect and invigorate areas of the campus, and it is a long-term commitment,” Waechter said.
For some of the more costly parts of the plan, such as renovations of some buildings, some tax credits are available.
Dale Slusser, of the Lawrence Preservation Alliance, helped put the plan together.
“That document has an invaluable amount of very interesting history,” Slusser said.