A new door for the next generation

Summer 2019 Edition


Marlys Shulda

Marlys Shulda

Stauffer-Flint Hall is one of the most iconic buildings on Mount Oread. Built in 1898, it was originally created as a mechanical building and never intended to hold classrooms. A single existing copy of the hardbound book, “The Building of the University of Kansas,” which had been a 1931 architecture graduate thesis written by J. Howard Compton (c’31), tells the eloquent tale of Stauffer-Flint Hall’s beginnings:

The machine shops had been under the supervision of Professor Blake of the Physics Department.

After the shops were destroyed by fire in 1898, Root & Siemens (KC architects) were employed...& according to Regents’ records were to receive as their fee three percent of the total cost of the building.

The walls were of rock face ashlar stone quarried on Mount Oread and cost $21,000.The roof was of red tile ... & the building two stories high. The first floor contained hydraulic and testing laboratories, lathe, forge, and casting rooms, and the university light and power plant; while on he second floor were mechanical engineering laboratories and wood turning rooms.

Mr. George A. Fowler (donated) $18,000, but the building cost more than was anticipated. Out of gratitude for his generosity, the University officials ask Mr. Fowler to deliver a commencement address, to which he replied,“How much money do you need to finish the building?” He was informed that $3,000 was needed.The money was received, but the address never made.

The cast end of the second story of Fowler Shops was destroyed by fire on May 9, 1918. The fire caused such excitement, for it was thought for a while to be the work of a German spy. A metal roof replaced the tile roof & destroyed some of the beauty of the building; never-the-less it is still one of the best pieces of architecture on campus.

A new front door for Stauffer-Flint Hall and plaza facing Jayhawk Boulevard will be unveiled in spring 2020.

A new front door for Stauffer-Flint Hall and plaza facing Jayhawk Boulevard will be unveiled in spring 2020.

The building was remodeled in the early 1950s to permanently house the nationally accredited School of Journalism. It was named Flint Hall in 1952 to honor Leon Flint, who was chairman of the KU Department of Journalism from 1916 to 1941. In 1982, Oscar Stauffer donated $1 million to again remodel the interior, and the building was renamed Stauffer-Flint Hall in 1983.

Over the years the building has been lovingly cared for by deans, faculty and students. Although the familiar stones and windows maintain their beautiful, elegant and timeless look, the inside hasn’t had a facelift since 1982. While the iconic building has long been a beacon for aspiring journalists, it’s been missing a front door that matches the energy, enthusiasm and talent within its walls.

That’s about to change. A front door that faces Jayhawk Boulevard, including digital technology and special lighting, will showcase the 24/7 nature of media externally, and a new plaza will be constructed to light the way for all who walk or drive by this highly visible intersection.

As we continue to build on the timeless core values in our curriculum, we know students and professionals are looking for an environment that also reflects the dynamic and digital world of today’s media. Once inside the doors, the remodeled first floor will reflect the creative and dedicated work that has long been the hallmark of Jayhawk Journalists.

We are creating a new state-of-the-art broadcast studio, a world-class newsroom, multi-use classrooms and laboratories, a student strategy center, and small flex-space meeting rooms.

Thanks to the generosity of donors and the University of Kansas, construction has already begun. Please help us write the next chapter in the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications’ story by considering a gift to support this exciting renovation.

— Marlys Shulda is development director for the School of Journalism through KU Endowment

Please support the J-School by donating to the J-School remodeling project or scholarships. Donate online or contact Marlys Shulda at mshulda@kuendowment.org or 785-832-7352.