|The Lawrence Campus Scene|
Budget woes in the Kansas statehouse slowed the pace of campus change during 2002. This might seem to be a recipe for serenity, but since we academic folks are born hellraisers, the level of controversy on Mount Oread has remained near normal. The university's decision to raze several older houses in the 1300 block of Ohio Street, for example, was delayed most of the year by preservationists. The bulldozers finally arrived this fall, however, and before long a new (and privately funded) scholarship hall should stand on the site. Even more on people's tongues because of its visibility has been a new "gateway" to the campus at the corner of Fifteenth and Iowa Streets. Extensive stonework, iron fencing, and landscape plantings are going in there to entice newcomers toward KU's visitor's center at the rear of Templin Hall. Although the overall appearance is nice to almost everybody's eyes, the chancellor receives regular scoldings from passersby about spending money on shrubs during a time of financial crisis. His patient explanation that the gateway is funded through a gift from the Malott family falls on deaf ears.
At Lindley Hall, the year has brought two subtle exterior alterations and a few room shifts. "Our" post-office box near the flagpole disappeared without warning one day last spring. Some people laid the blame on anthrax scares and others on a reduced volume of snail mail, but to my knowledge no one cared enough actually to ask the postmaster. Easier to explain is the loss of the simple but impressive wooden staircase that ascended from the back parking lot to near the Jayhawk Book Store. Because ice accumulated on its steps easily, school authorities feared a lawsuit and so made a pragmatic decision. Inside Lindley, graduate students are in the process of vacating the 409/411 set of offices across from the big lecture hall. This space will become the office for incoming professor Xingong Li. The students will migrate a few steps northward to the 413 suite, which Bob McColl is leaving upon his retirement. As I was checking out this space with the TAs recently, I couldn't help but recall its appearance when I initially saw it in the 1960s. The first office then was home to Diana Farr, Bev Koerner, and a mimeograph machine while Walter Kollmorgen and his pipe dictated department policy from the other.
Downtown continues to be the pride of most Lawrencians, a situation that MA student Shawna Wright is exploring for a thesis. The new parking garage and arts center between Ninth and Tenth on New Hampshire that I mentioned last year are now open and busy. Ray Stoneback's appliance store, a longtime stalwart on Massachusetts, has relocated to the Hillcrest Shopping Center, but neighbor Sarah Fayman (of Sarah's Fabrics) has purchased the site and is remodeling it classily to approximate its original nineteenth-century appearance. Although most of the stores on Massachusetts Street seem to be thriving, the recession has claimed the two most expensive restaurants there: Bleu Jacket and Prairie Fire. Another closing (and one that will sadden more geographers) is that of The Chapman at 731 New Hampshire. This store, which featured the most unusual assortment of used goods one could imagine—matchbooks, glass swans, and more—was the product of one man's curiosity. Clyde Chapman died of cancer last winter at the age of fifty-three.
Finally, all you KU basketball fans should be aware that our man Garth Myers played an important role in the recruitment of freshman forward Moulaye Niang. Garth made the preliminary contact between the basketball and African Studies offices so that Moulaye, who is Senegalese, could meet fellow countrymen on his recruiting visit. The story being told is that a traditional meal hosted by African Studies faculty sealed his decision to play and study here.
- Pete Shortridge
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