Breaking down the house

Web Editor

KC Officials are making plans to demolish the long-vacant Liberal Arts Building. While a timeline hasn’t been set, they hope to begin razing the structure this fall.

“We have evacuated the building and salvaged all of the things we have needed from it,” said Dan Beach, director of special projects and board liaison.

Exactly what will happen next isn’t clear.

“We are trying to gather some preliminary information that will assist us in our efforts to release a bid to remove the LA Building,” said President Bill Holda. “We are in dialogue with architects regarding the revision on our college master plan and any decision regarding the future use of that property will come from the advice in that study.”

Besides tearing down the building, KC administration has not decided what comes next.

“The preliminary plan for the space after the building is gone is to clear the area and make plans later in the future for the space.” Beach said.

The Ivan Liberal Arts building, built March 1957, was once a place where memories were made, laughter was shared and life was being lived.

The LA Building contained the administrative offices, a library, an auditorium and 41 classrooms.

In 1972, the LA Building was named after Martha Ivan, Teacher of the Year.

LA has been unused for many years; however in 2008, the second floor was opened for classes as well as a small portion of the first floor.

“The day I was hired, Dr. Stewart McLaurin (at the time Dean of Arts and Sciences, later president of KC) told me, ‘Don’t get comfortable. We’re tearing this building down,’” said Dr. Richard Harrison, dean of liberal & fine arts. “I continued to teach there for nearly 30 years before moving to the CA Building.”

The debate of whether or not the building would be demolished has been underway for nearly 30 years.

Not only was the building considered unstable, the absence of maintenance caused multiple problems.

For instance, the windows in one of the offices would not close all the way, so duct tape was put on the edge of the window to keep lizards from coming in.

“I remember others telling me that there was a lizard on my typewriter,” said Ginger Holley, professional support specialist.

“You couldn’t close the window, because the walls had been painted over so many times,” she said.

The LA Building has an underground spring running beneath it and possibly an oil field slush pit. Because of this, the whole building itself shifts.

“I remember turning off the lights in my classroom and being able to see the sunlight come through the wall,” Harrison said.

The use of the space where the LA Building is currently located could be used as an overflow parking lot, or even a grassy common area for students to gather, instead of it being an eyesore to the campus.

Although the building is currently in the process of bidding for demolition, the memories will forever remain.

“We did have lots of fun in LA,” Harrison said. “We could joke and visit and really enjoy our job here.”