‘This is your new home’: KU’s newly renovated Stauffer-Flint Hall ready to welcome the next generation of journalists

photo by: Lauren Fox

The new broadcast studio in Stauffer-Flint Hall, pictured on Jan. 23, 2020.

Flanking the new broadcasting space in the University of Kansas’ Stauffer-Flint Hall are two pillars that are over a century old.

“These pillars are 120 years old. The studio is about 10 minutes old,” said KU School of Journalism dean Ann Brill on Thursday at the reopening ceremony for the journalism building.

She said that’s a “really nice metaphor for where we think journalism is today,” noting that “the combination of very traditional journalistic values combined with a new front door … tells the world that we are open, we are here, we invite you in.”

photo by: Lauren Fox

This is the first thing people will see as they enter KU’s Stauffer-Flint Hall, which reopened after renovations on Jan. 23, 2020.

The journalism building has been under renovation since this past summer. The last time it had been renovated was in 1982.

Chancellor Douglas Girod said he thought the renovation of the building was “timely.”

“I think journalism — much like higher education — is undergoing a fairly significant evolution right now … and that’s going to require different skill sets moving forward,” he said.

The main feature of the renovation is the new entrance, which faces Jayhawk Boulevard with double doors and a large awning. The renovation also includes a new media center on the first floor to house the student newspaper, the University Daily Kansan. The media center is named after Susanne Shaw, who taught in the department for more than 40 years and donated to the renovation project.

photo by: Lauren Fox

The new entrance to Stauffer-Flint Hall, pictured on Jan. 23, 2020, faces Jayhawk Boulevard.

Stauffer-Flint Hall also has a new broadcasting space. It is the first thing visitors see upon entering the building from the main entrance.

Architect Dan Sabatini and project manager Laurel Schwaab said they wanted the broadcast studio to have transparent walls so that visitors could view the students at work.

photo by: Lauren Fox

The new broadcast studio in Stauffer-Flint Hall, pictured on Jan. 23, 2020.

“You can come in and feel as if you’re a part of the news,” Sabatini said.

The fact that transparency is one of the key values of journalism was not lost on Sabatini and Schwaab. They said that was part of their thinking in the redesign.

Renovations also affected the third floor of the building, which now includes an open-concept classroom, a seminar room and an area for studying and relaxing.

photo by: Lauren Fox

The third floor of newly renovated Stauffer-Flint Hall, pictured on Jan. 23, 2020.

Additionally, the renovation included more practical needs, such as replacing the elevator and the heating and cooling system.

Lauren Hugo, a junior in the School of Journalism, said she likes the modern look of the building now. She also, in typical journalistic fashion, had a nagging question on her mind:

“I want to know where they got the money to do this.”

The project cost about $5 million. Those funds came from private donors, various KU funds and historic preservation tax credits, Brill said.

Five donors were honored at the ceremony: Shaw, Brian and Sarah Bracco, and Barbara and John Stauffer. John’s father, Oscar Stauffer, made a donation the last time the hall was renovated, and the hall is partly named after him.

photo by: Lauren Fox

KU Chancellor Douglas Girod, left, helps hold the ribbon alongside KU seniors (from left to right) Nolan Brey, Brianna Mears and DeAsia Sutgrey, as KU School of Journalism dean Ann Brill cuts the ribbon on Jan. 23, 2020, during the Stauffer-Flint reopening ceremony.

Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment, joined Brill in thanking the donors, but also took a moment to thank the students, faculty and staff, who he said are “the inspiration for our donors to make this all possible.”

photo by: Lauren Fox

Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment, spoke Jan. 23 at the reopening ceremony for Stauffer-Flint Hall. KU School of Journalism dean Ann Brill listens.

“Because it’s their belief in what you do — your learning and your teaching — that our donors are inspired to make great things happen and to provide this environment to inspire you,” he said.

At the end of the ceremony, Brill asked the crowd, “How many Jayhawk journalists do we have in the room?”

About half of the crowd raised their hands.

“This is your new home,” she told them.

photo by: Lauren Fox

KU Chancellor Douglas Girod, left, applauds with the crowd after the ribbon cutting for the reopening of Stauffer-Flint Hall on Jan. 23, 2020.

photo by: Lauren Fox

The renovated lobby of KU’s Stauffer-Flint Hall, pictured on Jan. 23, 2020.

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