MU to close Jesse Hall for repairs, KBIA to find temporary home

May 23, 2013

Credit cindyt7070 / Flickr

Updated 4:12 p.m. with quotes and graphics

 The University of Missouri announced today that all employees working in MU's main administrative building, Jesse Hall, will be moved to a new location to allow for the installation of sprinkler systems, improvements to the heating and cooling systems, and an additional elevator. Nearby Swallow Hall which houses MU's Museum of Anthropology, will also undergo repairs including an increase in classroom, lab and office space totaling up to 5,000 square feet.  The project, called "Renew Mizzou," will cost more than $22.8 million.

Jesse Hall houses many offices key to the functioning of the University including Financial Aid, Admissions, Registrar, Jesse Auditorium and yes, KBIA-FM. All of Swallow Hall's staff, including the Museum of Anthropology, will move to Mizzou North, formerly the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in March 2014. They will be joined by parts of the offices of Financial Aid, Admissions and several other Jesse Hall employees. The repairs are expected to last one year.  Check the chart below for a full list of relocations. 

"We're doing it in such a way that we hope it will get rid of some of the backlog of deferred maintenance that has been on our list," said MU spokesperson Christian Basi.  That backlog totals $14.3 million at this point. 

The decommissioning of Pickard Hall is an ongoing project.  The old chemistry building was the site of some early experiments in radioactivity.  According to the Columbia Tribune, noted chemistry professor Herman Schlundt extracted radioactive materials from natural ores in the early 1900s.  The radiation from those early experiments still lingers.  The Tribune says:

Under regulations that took effect in 2007, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires buildings where naturally occurring radioactive material is found to be cleaned within two years and “decommissioned” — which essentially means the building would be taken off the agency’s watch list.

The portion of KBIA's staff connected to the University Concert Series will move to the Missouri Theatre. Some at KBIA had learned the news earlier.  At a staff meeting Thursday morning, KBIA general manager Mike Dunn said that the plan is to keep KBIA's main studio and production room online during the renovations.  The rest of the news staff will be relocated.  In the past, some news was produced out of the MU Journalism School while a studio in Jesse Hall broadcast the KBIA signal.  KBIA is investigating a similar arrangement for this temporary move.

Jesse Hall is about 120 years old and the need for sprinkler systems has been ongoing. Its history with fire is notable: it was built, famously, to replace Academic Hall which burned to the ground in 1892. Almost one century later, an arsonist caused over $350,000 worth of damage to Jesse Hall.

Here's a full list of offices that will be moving.  More from the official University press release.