LAWRENCE — Security fencing is being put in place as the University of Kansas begins initial stages of Central District redevelopment.
A work crew is expected to begin removing selected buildings that were part of the former Stouffer Place Apartments this week. Buildings 14 and 16, directly southwest of Hilltop Child Development Center, are the first slated to be demolished. Their removal allows the construction company to build a temporary access road to Hilltop from Ellis Drive. Demolition of the Stouffer apartments will then continue in stages, subsequently removing buildings north of Hilltop before removing the remaining buildings to the south. Officials expect the Stouffer demolition will last into the summer months.
University officials are working with the city of Lawrence to identify appropriate traffic control measures at Ellis Drive and 19th Street that will allow quick entry and egress for Hilltop families and service vehicles. Throughout the duration of the project, construction vehicle traffic will be routed separately from Hilltop traffic to help ensure the safety of children and their families.
In the weeks to come people will see additional site preparation work taking place in this highly visible section of campus. A number of trees will be harvested or removed. The university will retain some of the wood for fine art projects, and officials expect that half of the trees can be harvested and milled into lumber. A large, but temporary, sediment basin also will appear near 19th Street.
Until the project is complete, construction activity will affect the availability of parking in key areas of KU’s Central District. Design and Construction Management is working to minimize the effect on the KU community during the academic year. In the spring semester the western section of Bagley Drive will remain open to use for temporary parking, which will retain roughly 60 parking stalls. However, members of the KU community are strongly encouraged to take full advantage of the KU on Wheels system. The website offers trip planners as well as links to mobile apps that can help users catch the next bus.
The three-year Central District project, part of the KU Campus Master Plan, offers transformational upgrades to the Lawrence campus and includes an Integrated Science Building, a new student union, a parking facility, new student housing options, a power plant and necessary infrastructure improvements.
Funded through a combination of savings realized by Changing for Excellence, growth in student enrollment, some student fees, support from alumni and friends, and business and revenue-generating aspects such as parking and student housing, these crucial buildings and infrastructure will greatly enhance the university and allow KU to continue to attract creative faculty, staff and students for years to come.