Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Plan to raze McCollum Hall in the works

The Daisy Hill skyline could change if the Kansas Board of Regents approves a request from Kansas University to demolish McCollum Hall. Two new residence halls and a parking lot would be built on Daisy Hill as part of the project, which would cost $48.7 million.

The Daisy Hill skyline could change if the Kansas Board of Regents approves a request from Kansas University to demolish McCollum Hall. Two new residence halls and a parking lot would be built on Daisy Hill as part of the project, which would cost $48.7 million.

October 10, 2012


— A major part of the Daisy Hill skyline will meet the wrecking ball under a plan sought by Kansas University.

KU wants to raze the 10-story McCollum Hall and replace it with two new residence halls, according to a request before the Kansas Board of Regents. The cost of the total project would be $48.7 million and funded with bonds that would be paid off with housing and parking system revenues.

The board will consider the request next week. Jill Jess, a spokeswoman for KU, said until the regents consider the request, she couldn't divulge any more information than the written information that was provided to the board.

The project is before the regents as "an amendment of fiscal year 2014 capital improvement request." Fiscal year 2014 starts July 1, 2013.

There are five residence halls on Daisy Hill, housing more than 2,400 students. McCollum has a capacity for 910 students.

On Daisy Hill, "All of the residence halls have been renovated recently with the exception of McCollum," the information provided to the regents said.

"Even though McCollum has been well-maintained over the years, the space needs for the new housing model do not fit efficiently within the form of the building so renovation is not an option," the memo said.

The two new residence halls will be built west of Hashinger Hall and west of Lewis Hall. Each would be five stories and house 350 students.

"When the two halls are complete, McCollum Hall will be razed and the site converted to parking," the memo said.


formerfarmer 5 years, 4 months ago

Let’s raze a building that holds 910 students and replace it with 2 buildings that hold 700. Are they purposely forcing 210 students to seek off campus housing or going to build a third building elsewhere.

Currahee 5 years, 4 months ago

Shhh they can charge more $$ for better dorms!

Budgets_Smudgets 5 years, 4 months ago

Most students today do not want to live in 60's designed "dorms." They abhor gang showers and restrooms, for some strange reason.

Unlike students in the late 60's, many students now arrive to KU having never shared a light switch, bedroom, or bathroom. Hence the conversion of other dorms to more "suite-based" configurations which have also reduced absolute headcount capacity, while affording more personal space.

Just being the "least cost" dorm alternative even for just international students is not a successful model. (And the implication that foreign students are the ones seeking the most inexpensive alternatives is also not true. KU has nearly 900 students from China, and many/most of these families are far more prosperous than the average Kansas family)

racerx 5 years, 4 months ago

To be superior you have to be able to spell "superior," along with other pesky words, such as "because."

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 4 months ago

I assume that you are a Sinologist and you can explain to the rest of us when and why this will happen?

kuguardgrl13 5 years, 4 months ago

You don't get booted from the Lied Center lot just because there is an event. Most events take place when most campus lots are open anyway. The students generally park closest to the bridge over Iowa where Lied and Dole Center patrons don't want to park.

hometownhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

formerfarmer, you're assuming that they're at 100% capacity in the residence halls. More likely, they're far below it and hoping that newer / nicer accommodations will attract more students to on-campus housing.

Dan Edwards 5 years, 4 months ago

(sniff) That dump was my first home in Lawrence. I need to make sure I go see my old room before the wrecking ball does.

Note, I don't disagree with the notion that McCollum isn't worth saving. Just sentimental about my old college days.

tolawdjk 5 years, 4 months ago

Last day of my freshman year in Ellsworth I had a guy knock on my door. He had stayed in my room his freshman year and wanted to see his old room. When he was there some five years previous there was a hole in the closet door that they tried to charge him for damages.

Amazingly, that identicle hole was still in the same door. He had a polaroid picture of the hole with a newspaper showing the date the picture was taken. He also had picture of the -same- hole dated three years before that from a previous guy that had stayed in the same room.

During my checkout, my RA tried to blame me for the hole...showed him the two pictures spanning almost a decade of bilking students for repairs they didn't cause. I didn't have to pay, but I sometimes wonder if that hole is still there.

Shelley Bock 5 years, 4 months ago

That is one of the best dorm stories I've ever heard. Did you pass the photo on to the next occupant?

tolawdjk 5 years, 4 months ago

Sadly, no, the line died with me. I did take a photo. However a burst pipe at my off campus residence my Senior year ruined the photos I had. I'm guessing with the renovations that went on there the room was fixed. But there is always this lingering doubt.

luv2raft 5 years, 4 months ago

I can assure you that it's not. Ellsworth has been renovated since then. (Former Ellsworth resident, miss those days.)

Angel Gillaspie 5 years, 4 months ago

So, you went to KU but you don't know how to spell the word "identical?" And your grammar is atrocious. Did you go to the J-school? Maybe you should ask for your money back. Better yet, go buy a dictionary.

Fatty_McButterpants 5 years, 4 months ago

Oh, how sad it is that you have nothing more to contribute than grammatical criticism and lame insults.

billastrilla 5 years, 4 months ago

Nope... I personally removed every single closet door in that building a couple of years ago along with several other students working for housing.

Sheryl Wiggins 5 years, 4 months ago

McCollum Hall was my first home in Lawrence as well. I loved it then and wish they would keep it as it was when I lived there but I understand why they are razing it. Just makes me kind of sad.

Budgets_Smudgets 5 years, 4 months ago

none2> you are an idiot. Although the money is collected and expended by KU, it is totally illegal under state law for KU to convert money collected for the housing system into the general university or academic or research budget. The budget for the housing system is independent from the university.

Paul Geisler 5 years, 4 months ago

The demand for on-campus living has steadily dropped over many years which is why the KU dorms that have been remodeled had the old small dorm rooms doubled-up to provide a suite with a sleeping room and a study/living room combined into a single living space. Obviously that also greatly reducing the number of dorm rooms available, but I haven't heard anyone complaining about that.

Further more, McCollum Hall is too big and too outdated to justify spending millions of dollars to renovate it with new technology, wiring, HVAC, etc. And the basement of McCollum also houses some of KU's technical infrastructure & other departmental staff, so the need to update it is about more than just what students need in their dorm rooms.

Nathan Anderson 5 years, 4 months ago

I can't imagine why anyone would want to live in the new suite style considering you could live on your own off-campus for less.

kuguardgrl13 5 years, 4 months ago

In 2009-2010, there was nothing in McCollum's basement except for laundry, the kitchen that everyone is afraid to use, and the study/practice rooms. No offices that I knew of.

eternal_elir 5 years, 4 months ago

1E wing is all offices. It's just closed off to the residents.

straightforward 5 years, 4 months ago

I can see it now - Doug Compton Hall. Might as well. It seems like he already owns all the off-campus living. I'm sure he can find away to make money off this project too.

Shelley Bock 5 years, 4 months ago

Just as long as it doesn't mysteriously burn down.

straightforward 5 years, 4 months ago

Away = a way. Sorry, typing on an iPhone.

Bob Forer 5 years, 4 months ago

It been over thirty years since I was a KU student and resided at Ellsworth, so I have no idea what the upgrades to the other Daisy Hill dorms have been, but I can't imagine that they have all been remodeled to contemporary standards.

In tight times, it doesn't make sense for a perfectly functional building to be razed. It doesn't matter that the money is coming from parking revenue. That parking revenue money could be used for education purposes. If McCollum is badly out of sync with the other dorms, then lower the price. There are many students who would jump at the change to save a little money. They just need a place to sleep and study. The important time they spend during college is in the classroom, and that's where the money should be spent.

Ridiculous idea.

parrothead8 5 years, 4 months ago

The only ridiculous idea is you thinking students "just need a place to sleep and study." Maybe that was the case thirty years ago, but that's not why students go to college these days.

luv2raft 5 years, 4 months ago

That's a good point. Lots of students need to save money these days, and they might be more attracted to McCollum and other unrenovated dorms if the price is lower. (If it already is, forgive me, I haven't lived in the dorms for some years.)

kuguardgrl13 5 years, 4 months ago

The only on-campus housingnot to be renovated recently are McCollum, Oliver, Corbin, and the graduate student apartments (Towers have been). McCollum and Oliver both have overhead pipes that have been leaking for years. Corbin probably would have been converted to a co-ed dorm if the original donator hadn't put it in their contract to stay all-female. KU needs up to date housing as a way to attract students to come here. Housing is a major factor. I here about more and more freshmen living in The Reserve and other apartments around down. For students on a budget who excel, they can apply to the Scholarship Halls which are pretty nice compared to most of the dorms. However, not all of the remodeled dorms have been converted to suite-style. Hashinger is still 2-person rooms with hall bathrooms, but it's nice inside. Drywall instead of cinder blocks. Metal frame loft beds with built-in desks. Your own dresser with three drawers that can be moved where ever you want to put it. A sink to brush your teeth. Downside is no closet doors. They're open cubbies of sorts. Sophomore year in Hash was a million times better than the year before in McCollum for a number of reasons, but the newer facilities helped. It feels nice to walk into a dorm that doesn't look like the same one your parents lived in. Hash is unique in it's style, but I've heard few if any complaints from people who have lived there. The suite-style rooms sound nice, but they end up being complicated with twice the people. I'm sad to hear that McCollum will be gone in a few years, but I understand why. It's tough getting students to live there by choice. More and more international students are choosing to move into apartments. Sure McCollum is the "cheap" option for dorms, but it's still a few thousand dollars a year. If you're going to pay all that money, you deserve something decent. I'm confused as to where they're going to find space west of Lewis and Hash, but I hope they'll put up some maps and renderings soon.

arylwren 5 years, 4 months ago

@TheSychophant: It may be a "perfectly functional building", but it is NOT an acceptable place to live. I lived on the 4th floor for the '06-'07 year.

When we turned on our heater for the first time, it didn't really work and there was a horrible smell coming from it. We called maintenance and watched them pull it apart. I can still remember the look on his face as he jumped back with the amount of black mold that was in it. They never cleaned it out while I lived there. Also, our overhead pipe leaked as well. The bathrooms were cleaned M-F by a really nice janitor, but they were in great disrepair. McCollum had/has more than their fair share of fire alarms, several of which we're not "burnt popcorn" or "too much Febreeze".

As far as your comment about "Many students...would jump at the [chance] to save a little money", it's true. But those students were a bad mix. You had the few students who went to college to continue their education and who were very serious about it, but could not afford the more expensive dorms. Then you had the majority of the McCollum residents who were not as serious about their education but wanted a cheap place to party. Even the international students who stayed there for a short time partied a lot because their grades did not matter for their 3 week "visit". The year I was there, McCollum had the lowest average GPA of any on-campus housing. More specifically, my FLOOR had the lowest with a whooping 0.25 average (and I had a solid 3.5). They made it clear Day 1, that, statistically, a third to a half of our hall would not be there the next semester. It was mostly true. The academic probation for Freshmen allowed someone to have a 0.0 GPA the first semester because it was "possible" to raise it to a 2.0 by the end of the second. 3 girls on my floor in my wing alone, stopped going to classes altogether the second semester. But they did not withdraw and move out. They stayed and continued to run through the halls drunk at 3am. The RAs couldn't (wouldn't?) do anything about it because the girls would hide in their rooms and not open the door as soon as one was coming by.

All in all, it was a terrible place to live for serious students who did not have lots of expendable income. Once I learned that my grants, scholarships and student loans would cover off-campus housing, I moved. It was cheaper, I could sleep and I wasn't breathing in all kinds of noxious fumes.

Sorry for the rant. Geez. Forgot how strongly I felt about this!

Burn, McCollum, burn!!!!!!!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

When politicians say Kansas is broke I say they are lying. Absolutely! It all depends on how the Brownback facists want to blow OUR MONEY.

For example.

Last year, Kansas used workers' withholding taxes to bribe AMC Entertainment with a $47 million payment to move its headquarters from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to a KC suburb on the Kansas side, just 10 miles away. What a ripoff! Among the 2,700 corporations cashing in on such absurd diversions of state taxes from public need to private greed are Goldman Sachs, GE, Motorola, and Procter & Gamble.

For more information – and for ways you can help stop this despicable giveaway – get the full report, entitled "Paying Taxes to the Boss." It's available at

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 4 months ago

lulz. Good jobs = jobs that Merrill likes.

joes_donuts 5 years, 4 months ago

Nice thing about razing McCollum is it will not have to go in front of Lawrence HRC. The State has the same agency, and since it is a state run campus, they will have the final (logical) say.

We all know if it were going in front of the Lawrence HRC, they would find some Historical mouse dropping that would delay the demolition.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 4 months ago

I spent many a bizarre hour in McCollum Hall. Those memories will exist beyond its destruction. I'd like my last memory of the place to be watching it crumple to the ground at the sound of many well-placed explosive charges! It sounds like a party. Set up bleachers! Sell tickets! Make the video available for a fee!-D

SofaKing 5 years, 4 months ago

In other news, a stray screen door held up traffic on Barker for 4 minutes Thursday morning.

KU79 5 years, 4 months ago

I was an RA in McCollum in '78 and '79, and I always thought it was too big. Just too many humans under one roof. As an RA it was hard to get to know many of the residents on the 3 wings. Surprised they're tearing it down, though. All things considered I suppose this is more cost effective than renovating the beast. Btw, Fourth Floor, aka "the crazy mole people."

lawrencian 5 years, 4 months ago

Pretty sure the parking dollars are only going to pay for the cost of replacing the parking that will be taken up with the new buildings -- there is a state law about that, too. Parking dollars can't go in the general education fund.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 4 months ago

Or they could save the money, reduce property taxes on those of us who actually pay income tax.

valgrlku 5 years, 4 months ago

For those of you who haven't kept up to date on the costs of living in said dorms:

Remodeled or not, those rates are pretty steep, considering how few months/days people are permitted to live there, I think, especially McCollum which is the "cheap" dorm, as previously mentioned.

Wasn't there an article in the paper (UDK or here?) about the terrible living conditions in Stouffer Place? Those rates are cheap but still too much for the conditions I read about in that piece.

Bob Forer 5 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the info. You are right. The rates for McCollum are way too high. $3,804 to share a small room with someone else for nine months? Even though landlords require a twelve month lease, you can find a one bedroom apartment to share with a roommate with utilities paid for a few hundred dollars more each for a full year. Although the location may not be as good, you have more privacy, a bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen. The extra expense of an apartment can be absorbed with the money you save on food. The dining hall expenses are no great bargain.

StirrrThePot 5 years, 4 months ago

All of Daisy Hill was archaic and outdated when I was in the mid-90s. My mother remarked when she and my dad brought me to campus was that the inside of Lewis hall looked exactly like it did when she was there in 1968.

The year after I graduated the renovations began. LOL

imastinker 5 years, 4 months ago

What a crock.... I lived there in 2004 for a semester. I still remember being ripped off by the housing center for $700. I needed that money.

I remember that dorm as being dated but nice. I have some fond memories there. For the life of me I can't think of how some general paint/lighting and maybe new doors would not be enough to make the place look more modern. I also don't understand why they have to raze McCollum when there is a lot of space down by oliver for new res halls.

For those that don't remember, res halls are no big bargain. They close for every holiday so that you have to travel home or find other accomodations, don't serve breakfast on saturday or Sundays, aren't open during the summer, required expensive internet plans, required parking passes, and so on. I found living just off campus to be much cheaper.

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