ANY QUESTIONS: What is that brick structure for?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | 5:38 p.m. CDT

Have a question about goings-on around town? This is part of a project called "Any Questions?" that takes on community curiosities and tries to address them. Submit your questions to or by using the form below this story.

COLUMBIA — A Reddit user asked: What is this brick structure by Lathrop and Laws?

The tower-like structure stands on the east side of the dining hall, Pavilion at Dobbs.

The brick stack originally served as the outlet for kitchen exhaust from the fan room of what was then the Dobbs Dining Building, said Harriett Green-Sappington, associate director of facilities planning for the Department of Residential Life.

Kitchen exhaust would travel underground from the fan room on the lower level of Dobbs and out through the brick structure, which functioned as a chimney.

"When you cook french fries or burgers or things that give off a lot of grease or smoke, you have to have some way of getting that out of the building," said Kristen Temple, associate director of residential academic programs for the Department of Residential Life.

The flue that channeled the exhaust was closed off during a 1996 renovation project that turned Dobbs Dining into Pavilion at Dobbs.

Renovations along the way included the installation of other exhaust fans, so the tower wasn't needed anymore, Temple said. Now, there are exhaust fans over the cooking stations that pull in smoke and send it out through the roof.

But the tower still stands nearly 20 years after the dining hall was renovated.

"Since it's really not in the way, I think it was probably 'Well, why would we spend money on it?'" Temple said.

She said removal of the tower will be part of the demolition of Pavilion at Dobbs in the upcoming Dobbs Replacement Project.

Green-Sappington said the tower was a part of the original 1957 plans from architectural firm Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, which designed the Dobbs Area that also includes Laws, Lathrop and Jones halls.

Supervising editor is Landon Woodroof.

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