Kirk Building Renovations Begin

The Kirk Building will be receiving major renovations, with the entire interior to be cleared out and redone. The McKinney Center will be demolished once the Kirk Building is completed. 

Renovation began during early February, with workers clearing material out of the building and reviewing the building’s internal structure. 

Sam Guth, Physical Plant director, said there was already a state plan to renovate the building when he arrived five years ago. Work on detailed plans began about a year ago once Truman State University received funding from state and federal sources. 

Guth said a series of departments will move into the building upon its completion including the Student Health Center, Tutoring Center, Center for Academic Excellence and University Counseling Services. Guth said each department worked with an architect hired by Truman to help design their respective space within the soon to be redone Kirk Building. The goal is to centralize important student services within the Kirk Building, turning it into a “Student Success Center.”

“This is almost what I would like to call a ‘gut rehab’ within the building,” Guth said. “It’s very extensive and it’s gonna be a different wall arrangement, different heating, cooling and plumbing systems. We talked about if we get the basic remodel package done, then we’ll redo the windows.”

Guth said they hope to complete and approve the bid package by the Board of Governors before summer. Once that is complete, Truman will be able to hire a contractor to begin work on renovating the interior of the building. 

He hopes to see work start by July, Guth said. Currently, there is a contractor overseeing the clearing-out process and ensuring there are no major internal structural issues. 

Guth said he believes work on the building will take around a year or two. He said it is difficult to produce a timeline because of supply chain issues and uncertainty about how many people will be working on the building. 

Dave Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning, said the project’s total cost would be around $21 million. This includes the total cost of renovations and equipment, such as computers and furniture. 

This money also covers the costs of demolishing the McKinney Center, Rector said. The way the building is designed makes it difficult to renovate, so it will be demolished once the Student Health Center moves into the renovated Kirk Building. In its place, a pathway will be built connecting Violette Hall to The Quad. 

Rector said all of the money spent on the building originates from the state and federal government, meaning that the project won’t use any local money.

Ashleigh Harding, director of student success, said her department is moving into the Kirk Building, where the Center for Academic Excellence was before the building was shuttered. 

Harding said her department worked with the architectural firm to discuss how they wanted their future office space to look. She said they have seen several different versions of plans and provided feedback. 

Harding said the new space in the Kirk Building will be more open than their present space in the Pickler Memorial Library. They will be located on the building’s second floor, facing The Quad with a row of offices on that side. There will be an open area for students to collaborate and receive academic assistance. There will also be a forum space that other offices in the building and organizations can use to host events.

“I think it will be a great space because it will be about academic advising, but it will also include the [Writing] Center and tutoring center spaces,” Harding said.