Archive for Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Heard on the Hill: Old Watson Library elevator comes to a stop; KU unveils new website for its efficiency plan; alumnus creates comic book bio of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs

January 25, 2012


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• Here’s some sad news that I picked up from my latest edition of Kansas Alumni magazine.

That old-timey freight-style elevator in Watson Library, the one with accordion doors, has ceased operating.

I have no idea how long it's been out of commission, but I remember as a student going through the folding metal gates that I had to open on the floor and in the elevator to get through it.

The magazine described pretty well what it was like to ride in it.

“Something like riding a buckboard pulled by a placid workhorse, the car creaked steadily along before lurching to a stop.”

I also seem to recall getting a little jumbled up by the half-floor system in the elevator.

Well, the magazine reports that budget constraints finally did the elevator in.

With two other elevators nearby, library officials couldn’t justify asking for $200,000 to repair the elevator. The magazine said the elevator had been operating since the 1930s.

Rest in peace, old elevator. I knew thee well.

• KU has a new website devoted to its plan to operate more efficiently, which it likes to call “Changing for Excellence.” It just wouldn’t be higher education, would it, if we didn’t have plans with big, grandiose names?

But, anyway, this essentially boils down to KU trying to be more efficient through a variety of different measures.

We still appear to be in the beginning of the implementation of all this. No projects are listed as active on the main Changing for Excellence site.

But I quickly navigated over to the facilities page of the report to see what could be gleaned there.

The reason I looked at facilities is because this area has received most of the attention so far. And, actually, KU seemed to sum it up pretty well in one of the “challenges” listed on the facilities site.

“There is a prevalent lack of trust and fear of change within KU FO and Housing; staff feel threatened by the change and fear job reductions.”

That’s probably about right.

The site does mention that KU will look to move to “contemporary zone maintenance,” reducing the number of supervisors needed for its facilities staff by about 12 to 14.

We’ll see where this goes as the project moves forward. As always, if you’ve got something to say about this effort, don’t hesitate to let me know.

• CW Cooke, a 28-year-old KU graduate who is a comic book writer (I think I must have missed that major on the list during my freshman enrollment session), has written a 32-page comic book biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Here’s a Q&A; with Cooke from the Washington Post.

“I want readers to know all that they can about him and learn how truly remarkable he was,” Cooke told the newspaper. “Beyond the turtlenecks and the Apple products, he was a man with an incredible life.”

• It’s a new semester, and so it’s time once again for that long-standing Heard on the Hill tradition of flipping through the KU directory, finding a random name and asking someone directly to submit a tip for Heard on the Hill. So let’s have it, Linda Narcomey, administrative associate in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, tell me something I don’t already know at


DillonBarnes 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm very grateful I got to ride that elevator. When I worked at the library for a while, I would go out of my way to use the center stacks elevator. It's been out of service for a while now, but I had hoped it would eventually be repaired.

Oh well, I can understand the library's position.

Dave McClain 5 years, 10 months ago

I also have fond memories of the elevator. As a student in the late 70's, studying into the early morning hours in the stacks was a drab way to spend the night. But the elevator ride was a highlight that one went out of their way to enjoy! I actually enjoyed that 1/2 floor experience, and would then use the steps to get onto the other 1/2. Without cell phones back then, our entertainment was very simplistic!

4chewnut 5 years, 10 months ago

Andy - Any update on the retention package for the KU engineering professor?

ahyland 5 years, 10 months ago

KBA didn't consider it — they scrapped the rest of their regular agenda following the release of the audit earlier this week. I'll follow up once things settle down a bit over there.

Thanks for the question.

Andy Hyland

valgrlku 5 years, 10 months ago

I work at Watson, and the elevator (our fave) has been out of service for at least a year. Early-on, we knew about the cost-prohibitive repairs, so we've been mourning the loss for quite some time. :-(

I posted a picture of the view from the inside of the elevator here:

Melissa Kounelaki 5 years, 10 months ago

It's been out of commission since Jan. 2010. It is greatly missed by people who work here(especially collection maintenance).

Hooligan_016 5 years, 10 months ago

All of us former Watson employees coming out of the woodwork (or stacks, whatever). I love it.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, the Watson center stacks elevator has been out of operation for at least 2 years now ... and since it's so old, all of the necessary parts would have to be specially made.

Sarah1941 5 years, 10 months ago

I used to work in the stacks at Watson (1999-2004). I remember I would always curse under my breath when someone on the 4th floor would forget to shut the door and I would have to go all they way up stairs to get the elevator working again. I loved that elevator. I was hoping that it would be fixed. It's only an elevator, but I am sad knowing it will be gone.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 10 months ago

Nothing more frustrating than someone leaving the door open. However, more than once I would leave the door open so I could run and shelve just that one book. hehe.

AMC5546 5 years, 10 months ago

Damn, it could have been the location of a great scene in Slash's new horror flick!

Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 10 months ago

I appreciate CW Cooke, who has done a comic book of Steve Jobs' life.

However, I wonder if he put in any of the difficult parts - like Apple doing almost all of their work overseas at Foxconn.

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