McCollum Hall: What you need to know for your last close-up look and implosion-viewing game plan

photo by: Sara Shepherd

McCollum Hall on the eve of its implosion, Nov. 24, 2015. (Photo by Sara Shepherd)

I just got back from Daisy Hill for my final close-up look at McCollum Hall, and I wasn’t the only one driving around taking pictures up there. I ran into a couple McCollum alumni saying their own goodbyes to the building — now gutted, windowless and looking every bit on its last leg.

One was Hank Guarisco, of Lawrence, who said he lived in McCollum Hall as a graduate student from 1969 to 1972. I asked him if he planned to watch the building’s implosion Wednesday morning.

“I don’t think I will,” Guarisco said. “It’ll be much too sad.”

Guarisco said he has fond memories of McCollum, including hanging out around the grand piano and staying up all night playing music and ping-pong. Whenever he drives by, he said, he always looks up and likes seeing the prominent building there on the hill at the corner of 19th and Iowa streets.

“I had an amazing experience,” he said. “It’s very, very sad to see it go.”

But go it will.

At 9 a.m. sharp — following a series of three sirens — explosives will go off and the 10-story, three-wing, 220,000-square-foot building will crumble in less than 20 seconds, according to project planners. Here’s a recap of key points to remember for viewing and driving in the area Wednesday morning.

• Last looks: If you want to get up close (via car, at least), you have until 5:30 p.m. today (Tuesday), when the parking lot by Ellsworth and McCollum closes in preparation for the implosion.

photo by: Sara Shepherd

McCollum Hall on the eve of its implosion, Nov. 24, 2015. (Photo by Sara Shepherd)

• Watch online: The Journal-World will live-stream the implosion on our home page, The stream should be activated before 8:30 a.m. We’ve also got three photographers on this assignment, so check back later Wednesday for more photos and video from more than one angle. On Twitter, follow @ljworld for McCollum coverage as it happens.

• Road/pedestrian closures: A 600-foot “evacuation perimeter” will be enforced between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Roads around the intersection will close and pedestrian access will be blocked. (For a detailed list, see below.)

This map sketches out the 600-foot evacuation

• On-campus parking: Thanksgiving break starts Wednesday, so with the exception of lots in the “evacuation perimeter,” Yellow and Housing lots will be open for free parking starting Wednesday, according to KU Parking (large yellow lots that will be accessible Wednesday morning include those at the Lied Center, Student Rec Center and Burge Union lots). Red, Blue and Gold will remain restricted to permit-holders, however. Click here to view a complete KU parking map.

• Designated viewing area: KU has designated the Oliver Hall parking lot at 19th Street and Naismith Drive for public viewing, though no activities are planned and the hall will not be open to the public.

• Dust precautions: “The atmosphere will be very dusty for 10 to 15 minutes following the implosion,” KU cautioned in a press release. “Those with respiratory ailments should take precautions.”

McCollum being high on a hill does make it easier to see from afar. The view from Oliver Hall down on Naismith Drive is quite good, as is the view from across Iowa Street on West Campus — however, unfortunately, the large grassy area directly across Iowa from McCollum will be off-limits as it’s within the evacuation perimeter. My plan is to try West Campus first, just because it’s a little closer, with Oliver Hall as a backup plan if it’s too crowded. (If you’re really campus-savvy, there may be some overlooks along Jayhawk Boulevard with a straight shot — albeit more distant — view across to Daisy Hill.) The rest of my plan is to wear comfortable shoes and get to campus early enough to walk farther if I don’t like the first place I try, or in case too many people beat me to it.

photo by: Sara Shepherd

McCollum Hall on the eve of its implosion, Nov. 24, 2015. (Photo by Sara Shepherd)

McCollum Hall pictured on the eve of its implosion, Nov. 24, 2015. (Photo by Sara Shepherd)

McCollum implosion road closures

Kansas University has announced the following road closures between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Nov. 25, when McCollum Hall is scheduled for implosion.

15th and Iowa

• Iowa Street will be closed from 21st Street to 15th Street.

• Although the northbound lane of Iowa from 23rd to 21st Streets will be open, traffic must exit onto Constant Avenue at 21st Street.

• The intersection at 15th and Engel Road will be closed.

West Campus?

KU’s West Campus employees should enter the parking lots from Bob Billings Parkway and Crestline Road or by driving through the Park and Ride lots at 23rd at Iowa.

• There will be barricades at 19th and Constant Avenue and Irving Hill and Constant Avenue.

• Irving Hill Bridge will be closed and Irving Hill Road will be blocked from south of Jayhawker Towers to the bridge.

19th Street

• 19th Street westbound will be closed from Naismith Drive to Constant Avenue.

• Barricades will be at Bagley Drive, Stewart Avenue, Ellis Drive, Anna Drive, and Ousdahl, which will effectively close those streets. Ousdahl residents will be able to exit their homes headed east on 19th Street.

Source: Kansas University

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