Inside the Kirk Building

The Kirk Building, located west of Blanton-Nason-Brewer Hall, is home to multiple resources on campus for students to take advantage of. 

The building is named after John R. Kirk, who was the fifth president of the University in 1899. According to Truman’s newsletter during the celebration of 150 years, Kirk was the second-longest tenured president in Truman’s history behind Walter H. Ryle. Built in 1923, the Kirk Building was renamed in 1959 in honor of John R. Kirk. For many alumni, the Kirk Building was once known as a hub for social activities, including basketball games, assemblies and other student events. The building, however, started to see less traffic after the Student Union Building was built in 1967. 

The Center For Academic Excellence, the Publications Office, the Writing Center and the Language Company all currently reside in the Kirk Building today. The gym that previously hosted Truman basketball games is also still on the top floor of the building. All of these resources offer various serves to Truman students. 

The Center for Academic Excellence is located on the first floor and assists students academically at Truman. The Center for Academic Excellence is home to the advisers that help out all of the new Truman students with creating schedules, information about majors, maintaining sample four-year plans and working with the Scholastic Enhancement Experience Program. Truman’s website describes the SEE Program as a retention-based academic institution that helps its participants sharpen their academic skills, increase self-efficacy, learn about campus resources and form valuable connections to Truman during an intensive two-week summer program. The Center for Academic Excellence also runs the tutoring center, which provides students with tutors in various subjects. 

Andrew Hasenback, a tutor for the Center for Academic Excellence, said that students who are aware of the Center for Academic Excellence take advantage of it. 

“Students are more comfortable seeking help from a student who has previously taken the course than seeking help from the professor,” Hasenback said. “With that said, the same students consistently come back for tutoring, so it appears that there is a lack of awareness when it comes to students knowing what services are provided.”

The Publications Office is located on the second floor of the Kirk Building in room 210. It offers design and publishing services for University offices and organizations on campus. Some of the Publications Office design items include, posters, brochures, business cards, logos, flyers, t-shirts, advertisements and more. Once a request work order is submitted through a work-order form or email, the staff walks clients through the process and offers free designs if needed. 

Director of Publications Teresa Wheeler said the majority of requests are from student organizations for posters. She also added that they do not provide services for students for class projects.

The Writing Center is located on the first floor of the Kirk Building in room 120. The Writing Center is a resource for students to improve papers for any class or subject. Although the Writing Center does not add material, “fix” the paper, lecture or grade, it offers services to student writing. For students, they suggest revisions, expansions and restructuring of the paper. During a meeting with the Writing Center, a discussion could address content, strength of arguments, writer’s block and more. Another goal is to provide resources, feedback and different perspectives. The Writing Center informs clients on citations, grammar, formatting and more. Writers of any level are encouraged to use the Writing Center in order to strengthen their writing skills. 

The Language Company is another resource located in the Kirk Building. The Language Company is a private English program for students looking to improve their English skills and get familiar with American culture. Students will learn from teachers who are highly skilled in teaching English to international students. 13 starting dates per year are offered including August and January sessions which begin at the same time as the fall and spring semesters. 

The Kirk Gym is one of many historical areas on campus. Located at the top of the building, the gym has an old-school feel and is a large area for organizations to make use of. Until the Pershing Building was built in 1958, the gym was the primary location for sports teams and the campus recreation facility. For basketball games it could hold up to 800 people, and placing seats on the floor to use as an auditorium could hold around 1,500 people. Once the Pershing Building was finished, all sports-related activities moved away from the Kirk Building. Today, the gym is used by many organizations, including the University Swingers and marching band’s color guard. 

Laura Bates, director of the Student Union and Campus Activities, said that usage is currently limited due to the flooring that has been worn down over time. Further renovations of the space would need to occur to use it in a larger fashion. The Kirk gym is also a place that students can spend time in between classes and do activities that may require more space than a classroom. It is possible to update the Kirk Building into a space that students can use regularly, which would bring even more resources to campus.