Archive for Friday, May 3, 2013

25 years ago: Hoch to stay open in spite of fire code violations

May 3, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for May 3, 1988:

  • A historic Kansas University building was in violation of several fire codes, it was revealed this week. Paul Markley, chief of the fire prevention division in the fire marshal's office, said today that KU officials should have corrected the serious flaws in Hoch Auditorium, but he added that it was unlikely that the building would be closed soon because of the hazards. The building's deficiencies included inadequate emergency lighting and the absences of a sprinkler system for the stage area. The old auditorium, which was being used for classes, lectures, and performances, hadn't enjoyed many updates in its 60-plus year history. "Hoch has been like it is now since Naismith was playing there," said Tom Anderson, KU director of facilities operations. A follow-up inspection was planned for later this year.
  • Several construction workers and a front-loader were featured in a photograph today on their work site at the Naismith Drive drainage ditch. The $155,172 project involved replacing eroded material in an underground pipe, replacing broken concrete, and removing the 21st Terrace crossing.
  • President Reagan today denied that any policies or decisions that he had made while in office had been influenced by astrology. Published reports had recently claimed that First Lady Nancy Reagan had used astrology to help determine the president's schedule.


Ron Holzwarth 5 years ago

Fire sparked by lightning destroyed Hoch Auditorium on June 15, 1991.

Clipped from:

Sarah St. John 5 years ago

Ron, you beat me to it, but only because I was finding the link. :-)

Ron Holzwarth 5 years ago

I do remember! I looked over the ruins after the bulldozers cleared the site, and it was very interesting. Fortunately, no one was hurt, unlike the time a student was killed after falling through the very high false ceiling many years ago. Before the fire, it was claimed that the patch that did not match the rest of the ceiling marked the location. I don't have a reference for that, but I was assured it was true.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years ago

In 1967, Hoch Auditorium became the site of a fatal accident when 15 year old Lorraine Kelvin of Clayton, Missouri fell 64-70 feet from a catwalk while attending the Kansas University Midwestern Music and Arts Camp.

(Lawrence Daily Journal-World. 1967-07-28)

Phoghorn 5 years ago

That was a horrible event. Here is a link to the LJW story about this tragedy. There is a photograph that shows the hole in the ceiling and a man standing on the floor below. It is a very sobering image.,2873530

It is always sad to hear about someone dying so young.

MISTERTibbs 5 years ago

It was very lucky that nobody was killed or hurt during that fire. I know the former fire dept. captain that was with the second truck to arrive, and therefore lead the team that entered the building. He and the team he lead into the upper balcony were very lucky to get out the building just before the roof of Hoch collapsed.

Phoghorn 5 years ago

I had some good times in that old building. It was outdated, but I sure hated to see it go.

Phoghorn 5 years ago

I also remember the "No Smoking in Hoch" stencil signs on all of the doors. The ones on the front doors survived the fire, and remained when the building was re-opened as Budig Hall/Hoch Auditoria. They were removed by KU a few years later though.

Maybe that should be my new tagline. "No Smoking in Hoch". Yeah I like it.

No Smoking in Hoch.

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