Letter from the dean
Summer 2019 Edition
Pardon our mess!
The renovations to Stauffer-Flint Hall have begun, and we could not be more excited about the changes. In case you’ve not heard what we’re doing, we are repairing some areas and updating others. It is time.
KU built this beautiful, iconic building in 1898 at a cost of $21,000. Originally named Fowler Hall, it housed the University shops. The stone for the then two-story building was quarried on Mount Oread. Although the use would be “commonplace,” according to a history of KU architecture, it was also meant to honor the donor’s father so KU wanted an “attractive building.” Mr. Fowler’s original gift was $18,000, but when the cost went up, so did his contribution. Fire destroyed the east end of the building in 1918. At the time, some thought the blaze was the work of a German spy!
In 1982, the building underwent extensive renovation thanks to the generosity of Oscar Stauffer. It cost a bit more — $1 million — for the renovations than the original. The building became Stauffer-Flint Hall in honor of Mr. Stauffer and former dean Leon Flint.
So, it’s been nearly 40 years since the building has significantly changed. Certainly, there’s been work on classrooms to bring them up to date. But the infrastructure was wearing out and visitors, especially potential new students, were telling us it was time to make some other changes. Now, thanks to generous donors, we can make changes.
More than a year ago, we began the process of studying how we were using every space in the building. The results were expected — we don’t need more space, just better use of the space we have.
Students work differently than they did 40 years ago. Classroom instruction is much more hands-on rather than lectures, and video permeates all forms of media.We also worked with industry experts to see what they were doing to change their workplaces. After all that research, we concluded that we needed collaborative and flexible spaces. Students told us they needed three things to get their work done: high speed Wi-Fi, power to charge their portable devices, and beverages to keep them caffeinated! They added they wanted to “experience” what it was like to be immersed in a professional work environment.
Despite a year in which we had a 6 percent budget cut, we knew we had to move forward. In recent years, the elevator broke down repeatedly and the HVAC system was so noisy we had to cancel or move classes.
And, we wanted to bring this time-honored building into a new era with a front door facing Jayhawk Boulevard. Through the new door will be an experience of being in a dynamic, creative space. We want everyone who enters to feel as if they are part of the School, to feel the energy that our students create. While the door will be new, we’ve worked closely to maintain the historic nature as part of KU’s historic district.
What also will be maintained are our iconic values. Our skills, passion and integrity emanate from Mount Oread.
Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns about this project. If you are able, we also hope you contribute financially to ensure that this building hosts Jayhawk Journalists for another 120 years.
Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!