Ongoing complaints remain unresolved: Kedzie Hall falling apart

Students in Kedzie Hall have noticed several issues with the state of the building. Among these issues is a leaking ceiling. (Elizabeth Hamilton | Collegian Media)

Kedzie Hall has been open at Kansas State since 1899 and home to the journalism school for decades. However, some students, like Austin Schultz, said the condition of Kedzie has started to decline.

“It looks like an old brick building that you have to take classes in and there’s nothing really exciting about it,” Schultz, sophomore in journalism, said. “I think if you brought in more colorful and engaging material, it would make Kedzie a more exciting place.”

Hallie Everett, student publications adviser, also said repairs should be made to Kedzie. 

“Yes, the ceilings do leak,” Everett said. “I was here for the Manhappenin’ meeting. … I got out of this meeting and a couple of the editors came to me like, ‘hey, there’s like a big ceiling leak on the south side of the building.’ So I just took a trash can and put it under where it was dripping, and then I went upstairs and the floor was wet. It had leaked from the ceiling and through the floor, down to the first floor.”

Greg Paul, interim director of the A.Q. Miller School of Media and Communication at K-State, said the recurring budget cuts limit what improvements can be made to Kedzie.

“K-State has experienced several years of cuts to budgets such as reduced enrollment,” Paul said. “All those things together lead to rounds of cuts. We don’t know our budget yet, because the state hasn’t sorted out its appropriations yet, and our dean’s office is still working through what its budget is going to be for next year.”

Everett said the budget for improvements should be the university’s responsibility.

“I think it should be up to the university to help put in the necessary money to keep the buildings functioning and looking nice,” Everett said. “A place that looks interesting to students, not with weird paint splotches on the walls.”

An anonymous survey sent out to SMC students on April 15 asked students how they used the space in Kedzie and how they thought the building could be improved. All 15 respondents said the building is “old,” 11 said Kedzie is “outdated,” 10 advocated for new paint and 12 wanted updated furniture.

Paul said the building is slowly sinking into the ground. 

“When I spoke to folks about Kedzie and Nichols last year, I was hearing a lot of comments about the leaks in the roof and the bats in Kedzie disrupting class,” Paul said. “The north side was beginning to sink into the earth, so you could see — before they repainted and did other renovations — the difference in where tiles lay and where they are now, showing how the building has sunk.”

Everett said students are becoming unphased to the bats in the building. 

“We had a bat in the newsroom in late August, just hanging from the ceiling, hanging out,” Everett said. “There’s lots of stories about bats and we are just like ‘oh yeah, another bat, there’s another one in here.’”

Dawson Wagner, programming and news director for Wildcat 91.9, said he noticed the physical condition of Kedzie declining.

“The ceiling of The Collegian’s newsroom was caving in,” Wagner said. “I’ve been talking to people about the issues in Kedzie for quite a while.” 

Christopher Culbertson, interim dean of the school of arts and sciences, declined to comment on the budget and function of Kedzie Hall. 

Paul said the budget will be released in July 2023 and will determine what and how much can be put toward repairs and renovations of Kedzie.

“Our fiscal year runs from July to June, so every July we get our new budget,” Paul said.

Everett said if people cared, they would put in the effort to repair the building. 

“If people really care about them, they put in the money to help fix it,” Everett said. “We need people to care about Kedzie’s character, Kedzie’s history, just the work that goes on here. Between all the publications, people create a lot of memories here. That’s one of the reasons I love Kedzie so much.”