Scott’s, university house will serve dual purposes
Caitlin Taylor | Collegio Reporter
The new University House that will house university President and be used for entertaining visitors to the university is currently under construction and should be finished by the end of the summer.
Dr. Brad Hodson, vice president of university advancement, and John Patterson, vice president for administrative and campus life, were put in charge of the project.
Hodson says he primarily deals with the design and getting the construction implemented while Patterson handles overseeing the construction and handling the expenses.
OLD MEETS NEW
“Probably the main difference between the old house and the new one is that it’s called a University House,” Hodson said. “Universities around the nation have started to implement the idea of a University house. It’s not solely for the president anymore.”
Hodson describes the house as a “mixed use facility” meaning part of the house will be for entertaining purposes, and a smaller part will be the president’s actual home.
“One of the reasons we decided to make it a university house is because the president already lives like he is in a bubble, having to be president 24/7,” Hodson said. “And since the expectations of the president entertaining guests has grown tremendously since back when the original house was built, we decided to build two parts to the house.”
ROOM TO ENTERTAIN
Hodson says that when you first walk into the house, there will be a large entryway big enough for people to be checked in while not being crowded.
“This house is being built with coat closets that will hold 100 coats,” Hodson said. “In the old house, the president would have to put coats on their personal bed.”
Hodson says there will be public restrooms for guests on the left and right side of the entryway whereas in the old house, all guests would use the president’s own personal bathroom.
“After you pass the bathrooms, you enter a big vaulted room that can hold 60-80 people dining, or 100-140 people standing,” Hodson said. “There is a large fireplace at the end of the room, and French doors leading out to a patio facing the lake.”
Hodson says that this house will have a separate dining room with a table big enough for 20 people. There will also be a separate catering kitchen containing state-of-the-art equipment for Sodexo.
“In this house, we also decided to put guest beds into the structure that will be completely opposite the president’s quarters with a personal entrance so guests can come and go as they please,” Hodson said. “And the president will not have to have them invading their personal space.”
Hodson says that the actual living quarters for the president will be more modest, with a little kitchen and dining room, living room, a master bedroom with a full bath, and a small room for the president to have an office.
“The president’s actual living area is smaller than normal,” Hodson said. “But it is normal and modest, and there is a three car garage for the president’s university car and his and his wife’s personal cars.”
Hodson estimates that they should be moving furniture into the new house in June or July.
“I think that once they have moved in and settled down for a while, there will be an open house, probably during a football game, so everyone can come and check out the new house,” Hodson said. “And private donors have supplied 100 percent of the funds for the house. They also signed a pledge that even though they are donating to the house, they will still supply any contributions they normally do to the University.”
Patterson has been on this project since the “get-go” along with Hodson.
“My jobs been more behind the scenes,” Patterson said. “We are just trying to get everything done.”
Patterson and Hodson approached Dr. Bryant in 2007, the previous president before Dr. Scott, and came to a conclusion that there was a problem with the old house that they needed to bring attention to.
“We had to work our way through the Kansas Board of Regents to get their approval and speak with the University’s Foundation Board as well,” Patterson said.
Patterson explained that this project budget came out to be $2 million, $1.7 million just for the construction budget. He says that there are also other costs such as architectural fees and testing.
“The original president’s house was built about 60 years ago and the public donation wasn’t very large,” Patterson said. “But with all the generous donations funding this entire project, we should hopefully have the president and the first lady moved into the new facility no later than Aug. 1, 2012.”