Student Housing at the University of Kansas has finalized its plan to move forward in the demolition of Oliver Hall and has released further details about how the project will proceed. The demolition is expected to begin in May 2022, however this date is subject to change.
Since the demolition of Oliver Hall was approved in May 2020, little has changed. The project is still expected to cost $2.2 million and will be funded by Student Housing and Transportation Services Funds at KU, according to KU’s request for authorization from the Kansas Board of Regents this September.
This past summer, KU Student Housing began a small pre-demolition, demolishing Oliver’s connections to surrounding halls, said Sarah Waters, director of KU Student Housing.
“There was a hallway link that connected the South Commons dining area to Oliver and we did demolish that this summer," Waters said. "We had to demolish that to be able to finish all the disconnects inside the old Oliver complex. The infrastructure and the electrical systems were all tied together. We also completed abatement there to get all the asbestos out.”
KU Student Housing and the Facility Planning Department finalized plans regarding the demolition approach of Oliver Hall, Waters said.
“When the building itself starts to demolish, the current plan is that it will be mechanically taken down with large pieces of equipment," Waters said. "It will not be imploded and it will likely not even be a wrecking ball. The engineering firms have looked at it and they’re recommending the best way is to take it down in sections.”
KU Student Housing has not sent the plan to be bid amongst demolition firms and when this will occur is unknown, Waters said.
“There are many qualified firms that might bid on the project, but I am unable to specifically name them due to procurement guidelines,” Waters said. “But since we haven’t confirmed when the project will officially begin, we don’t have a timeline of when it will be put out to bid.”
Student traffic and safety in the area surrounding Oliver Hall affects when and how the demolition will be conducted, Waters said.
“Based on how busy the area of 19th and Naismith is, KU Student Housing understands the Oliver demolition itself has to be a summer project,” said Waters. “There will be fencing that has to go up. We have to obviously be really intentional about safety.”
Waters said the May date was decided on due to a decrease in student populations on campus going into the summer months. As for plans after the demolition, the land underneath Oliver Hall is intended to become a lawn area, Waters said.