Stouffer Place demolition starts this week, kicking off major Central District redevelopment (and traffic challenges)
Kansas University is beginning to tear down the Stouffer Place apartment buildings this week, starting with two near Hilltop Child Development Center. Stouffer Place demolition kicks off redevelopment of KU’s entire Central District, which will create long-term detours and parking shortages in the area.
The Central District is the area between 19th and 15th streets and from Naismith Drive up to Daisy Hill. It’s home to the Burge Union, Allen Fieldhouse, Jayhawker Towers, Oliver Hall and the pile of rubble formerly known as McCollum Hall, among other buildings.
In the next three years the Central District will see construction of a new 500-bed residence and dining hall near Oliver Hall, a 700-bed student apartment building at 19th and Iowa streets, a new Burge Union, a parking garage, a utility plant and a 280,000-square-foot integrated science building.
All that’s going to take a lot of work. In an announcement Wednesday, KU outlined some of the things campus-goers can expect:
• Stouffer Place buildings 14 and 16, directly southwest of Hilltop, will be the first to go. Once they’re removed, a temporary access road will be constructed from Ellis Drive to Hilltop. KU officials are working with the city to identify traffic control measures at 19th Street and Ellis Drive to help Hilltop families and service vehicles get in and out more easily. Construction traffic will be routed separately from Hilltop traffic, to help ensure children and their families are safe.
• Stouffer demolition will continue in stages, with buildings north of Hilltop coming down before those to the south. Demolition is expected to last into the summer.
• A number of trees will be removed. KU plans to retain some of the wood for fine art projects, and officials expect half of the trees can be harvested and milled into lumber.
• A large, temporary sediment basin will be constructed near 19th Street.
• Construction will cause parking shortages throughout the area. This spring, the western section of Bagley Drive will remain open to use for temporary parking, about 60 stalls. However, KU said, drivers are “strongly encouraged to take full advantage of the KU on Wheels system."
The 25-building Stouffer Place complex — opened in 1957 as married-student housing — closed for good in July. KU has no plans to build new family housing units. The university has said the buildings had come to the end of their useful life and KU would be unable to build new ones with comparably low rents, one of Stouffer Place’s main attractions.
• $327 million in bonds sold: In other Central District news, KU last week sold $327.1 million in bonds to pay for the Central District redevelopment project, at a total interest cost of 3.75 percent, according to KU officials. In November, the Kansas Board of Regents approved the project at a cost not to exceed $350 million.
— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at email@example.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.
If you've ever admired KU's Lippincott Hall and have an affinity for birds, then this week presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you, really.
But it also presents a nice opportunity for anyone who likes to help people in need around the holidays and enjoys cute things made by kids.
It's time for the Hilltop Child Development Center's annual birdhouse auction. Available are birdhouses built by Hilltop teacher Mike Pisani and decorated by students in the center's after-school program (students in kindergarten through fifth grade from throughout the Lawrence school district).
You can take a look at the bright, festively decorated houses available on the Facebook page for the campus center, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this fall. Topping off the collection is an intricately detailed model of Lippincott Hall, the building on Jayhawk Boulevard that was dedicated in 1905 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
The auction will benefit an adopt-a-family program for Hilltop families in need — this year it will help provide meals and gifts for six families with children who attend the center. Part of the proceeds will also go to the American Red Cross, which was added this year at the request of the children in the after-school classroom.
Bidding started today and continues through 5:45 p.m. Thursday. You can stop by Hilltop, 1605 Irving Hill Road, to bid in person or call 864-4940 to bid over the phone.