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Archive for Sunday, February 1, 2009

KU to meld past heritage with future development in framing campus plan

Viewed through the front arches of Spooner Hall is Dyche Hall, right of center, one of several historical buildings on the Kansas University campus. At left, in the distance, is Danforth Chapel and Fraser Hall. A new pilot purchasing program has the potential to help universities save time and money.

Viewed through the front arches of Spooner Hall is Dyche Hall, right of center, one of several historical buildings on the Kansas University campus. At left, in the distance, is Danforth Chapel and Fraser Hall. A new pilot purchasing program has the potential to help universities save time and money.

February 1, 2009

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Public presentation

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.

Comments

rusty2 5 years, 2 months ago

chargeit is right on...................where was this concern about campus boundaries with the Ohio Scholarship Halls where donor's were lauded but couldn't seem to donate enough money to provide adequate parking instead severely impacting the Ohio Street neighborhood(s)?where was this concern about 'melding' into the boundaries with the new Oread Hotel & Condo project?the Provost at KU wrote a letter in support of that project which has both size, scale, and massing problems and was unanimously opposed by the local HRC Historic Resources Commission and many members of the LPA.where was all of this concern then?again, chargeit is right on with the football building.its window/curtainwall is very very unsophisticated and the whole design of the facades facing memorial stadiumis not much better than a warehouse. where was the concern then KU staff.somehow it remains that the KU Architecture School never gets to weigh in on these matters until they are a fait accompli like the Oread Inn and the Football Building.why?

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chargeit 5 years, 2 months ago

It is interesting to note there is no critisim of recent delopements (new football fac and offices, scoreboar, etc impacting the Hill). This study and the planning and construction had to be going on simutanieouslyThe conclusions doc map of views conviently ignores the new buildlings impacts, but what is done is done may be the study's perspective.It is also interesting the new Environs boundary does not include the remainder of the Hill's green space. Why?The vegitation portion of the report appears well thought out and unaffected by adminstrative medeling. Easy, since it is mostly the restoration and continued succession of mature trees and gardens to enhance views. The recomendation of building preservation will be interesting to watch as some would rather knock down old and build new grandure but that is much more difficut once registered.In reading, there appears to be some adminstrative medeling. Sadly, true study findings are often edited to reflect the views of the administration overseeing the study.It will be interesting to see how things develop as King Lou's reign and the drive for newer, better and bigger continues.

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