MU's Jesse, Swallow and Pickard halls to close for renovations

Thursday, May 23, 2013 | 12:25 p.m. CDT; updated 1:20 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Pickard Hall, located on Francis Quadrangle, will be part of renovations planned for MU beginning next fall. The building was used for science experiments in the 1900s and left residual radiation in some areas of the building. The department of art history and archaeology and the Museum of Art and Archaeology will move to the former Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.

COLUMBIA — Three of MU’s oldest buildings, including Jesse Hall, will close for renovations beginning next fall, sending hundreds of staff and faculty to different buildings on and off the main campus. 

The university is planning a $22.85 million project to make significant changes to Jesse Hall, Swallow Hall and Pickard Hall, subject to approval by the UM Board of Curators. 

The project, called "Renew Mizzou," will be funded by refinancing debt, redirecting the deferred maintenance budget and using money from the university's one-time savings account, said MU spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken. 

In the first wave, the art history and archaeology department in Pickard Hall will pack up its museum collection and move about two miles north to the former Ellis Fischel Cancer Center on Business Loop 70 West, which the university wants to rebrand as "Mizzou North." 

The anthropology department in Swallow Hall will join art history and archaeology at the former Ellis Fischel next spring. The two departments will move into Swallow Hall when construction ends in summer 2015. 

The Museum of Anthropology and the Museum of Art and Archeology will be off the main campus "for the foreseeable future," Banken said. 

Renovation of Jesse Hall will begin next summer, with the staff of 600 moving to various places on and off campus until construction ends in June 2015. 

The chancellor, provost, their deputies, University Affairs and Visitor Relations will move to Reynolds Alumni Center across Conley Avenue. Much of the admissions, financial aid, cashiers and registrar staff will head to Ellis Library's West Reading Rooms. 

The upfront cost will come from three sources:

  • $8.6 million will come out of savings the university made from refinancing of its current debt at a lower interest rate.
  • $8.85 million will come from Campus Facilities' deferred maintenance budget. 
  • $5.4 million will come from one-time savings accumulated by the university.  

Renovating the buildings will eliminate the need for $14.3 million in deferred maintenance costs, Banken said.

The university's strategy is to renovate old buildings to avoid spending more later on maintenance, Banken said. The university has dubbed this strategy the "Mizzou Stewardship Model."

The university’s aging buildings add $20 million in deferred maintenance costs every year, exceeding the $13.3 million a year allocated for maintenance. Instead of spending maintenance money bit by bit, Campus Facilities will renovate the buildings so they can be removed from a list of 30 buildings needing continual upkeep.

Here are the details of each renovation project: 

Jesse Hall

Beginning in July 2014, the university will install a sprinkler system, a new fire alarm system, a second elevator and updated heating and cooling systems in Jesse Hall.

“Installing a sprinkler system and upgrading the fire alarm system is a safety and building preservation issue that we shouldn’t ignore,” said Gary Ward, associate vice chancellor for facilities, in a news release about the project.

Jesse houses about 600 staff. While the building is under repair, they will be moved to offices in Reynolds Alumni Center, Ellis Library, McReynolds Hall, the Heinkel Building and the Hillel Center.

"The staff currently located in Jesse that interact with students will continue to have offices near the center of campus," Banken said. 

The fate of KBIA Radio is still uncertain, Banken said. The station is on Jesse’s fourth floor. KBIA staff who are part of the University Concert Series will move to the Missouri Theater on Ninth Street, but finding a new place for the station’s news team will be more difficult because of the station’s soundproof rooms.

“They haven’t figured out yet how to move the soundproof rooms,” Banken said. “During this next year, they’re going to determine how they’re going to be able to work around it.”

Staff will be able to move back into Jesse Hall between April and June 2015.

Pickard Hall

Pickard Hall used to house the university’s chemistry department, and experiments in the 1900s left residual radiation in some areas of the building, Banken said. 

In 2011, a spokesperson for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told the Missourian that an inspection of the hall revealed radiation in Pickard’s walls, its attic and beneath its floorboards. The commission said at the time that the amount of radiation was safe.

The release stated that the university would clear the entire building beginning in October and conduct further radiation testing.

The Department of Art History and Archaeology and the Museum of Art and Archaeology will move to the former Ellis Fischel Cancer Center on Business Loop 70 West.

“Since we now have available, workable space in the former Ellis Fischel Hospital, we have determined the most effective way to continue necessary testing in Pickard is to completely empty the building during the process,” Ward said in the release.

The museum will stay at the former hospital "for the foreseeable future," the release stated.

Swallow Hall

Starting in June 2014, the university will add up to 5,000 square feet of classroom and multi-purpose space to Swallow Hall. The building is currently home to the anthropology department and the Museum of Anthropology.

In May 2014, the entire museum and department staff will move to the former Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. Swallow Hall will be ready for use again by fall 2015.

MU's timeline for renovation project

Office shuffle: Where faculty and staff will move during renovations

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John Monroe May 23, 2013 | 9:56 p.m.

Has anyone checked for toxins and chemical residues that could possibly exist at the former Ellis Fischel Cancer Center?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking May 24, 2013 | 4:06 a.m.

Toxins and chemical residues are everywhere, and most of them are entirely natural. I suspect there's more "toxin" in the dust and mold in most older buildings (not just Ellis Fischel) than anything related to patient care or chemo.


(Report Comment)

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