Our View: Preserve the Kirk Building

Workers are currently clearing out the Kirk Building, as reported in Seth Jarvis’ story in this issue. We, the Index Editorial Board, urge those overseeing the construction to preserve as much of the original structure and furniture as possible in the Kirk Building. 

Many of Truman State University’s buildings have been renovated throughout the last 20 years. We wish these renovations had kept more of the original design and character of the original buildings. 

Many of the buildings now seem stuck in the 2000s, with out of date furniture and paint. Purple and orange chairs, beige and purple walls and outdated patterns all clearly age the buildings and keep them stuck in the past. 

This is inevitable to a certain extent. Buildings’ interior designs will be a reflection of their time. However, completely removing all of the character of the building and making it more “trendy” and modern erases the story of the building. 

Colleges often exist for a long time. Many businesses and companies come and go, but institutions tend to be longer-lasting. At Truman, through name changes, administration changes and mission changes, the location has stayed the same, and so have many of the buildings. 

These buildings provide an important connection to the institution’s past and should be honored as such. The Kirk Building served as the center of campus for a long time and was a hub of student life. 

Instead of completely clearing out the inside of the building and disposing of all existing furniture, we encourage the Truman administration to consider keeping any intact furniture or structure in order to preserve this special material connection to our University’s past. Instead of completely demolishing and rebuilding, we urge Truman to restore whatever possible. 

We understand this is a difficult task, one that can be time consuming and expensive, and may not be entirely possible because of structural issues. Still we think it is worth it. 

Instead of a completely modern building devoid of any historic character or pieces, we could instead have a building that reminds students of generations past and the importance of their presence and their place in our campus history. This is why we encourage Truman to be careful in its renovation of the Kirk Building and consider the impact they make on the building’s rich history.