The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 29, 1992, Page 6&7, Image 6

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    The Money Pit
By Mark Harms
Staff Reporter
In Richards Hall, the roof leaks,
ventilation is poor and the paint is
old and chipped.
No storm windows keep out the
cold, and there is no central air-con
Built in 1909, Richards Hall is
one of the oldest buildings on the
University of Ncbraska-Lincoln
campus. It also is one of the worst
in terms of maintenance, Douglas
Ross, professor of art, said.
Richard McDermott, director of
UNL’s Facilities and Management
Department, agreed.
“It’s by far the worst building on
City Campus,” he said.
But John Benson, director of In
stitutional Research and Planning,
said that since the joint Academic
and Central Planning Committees
placed Richards eighth on their list
of priorities for capital improve
ment last month, it probably will
not be renovated any time soon.
“To be realistic, if reports from
the (Nebraska) Legislature arc true,
we’re going to be in a tight situation
financially,” he said.
enanccsare sum mai mcnarus
will gel an overhaul within the next
two years, Benson said.
“A lot of projects arc competing
for a limited amount of funding,” he
Projects ranked above Richards
on the joint committee’s priority list
include: asbestos removal in
Burnell Hall, hazardous waste
removal and storage on East
Campus and an addition to Love
Neither Benson nor McDermott
would estimate the cost of renovat
ing Richards, but a 1990 estimate
put it at more than $9 million.
McDermott said Richards had
been on the priority list at least
three years and “probably a lot
Despite his doubt that it would
be renovated soon, Benson said
Richards stood a pretty good chance
of getting maintenance money for
fixing leaks in the roof and install
ing storm windows.
Among its other problems, Ross
said, Richards is inaccessible for
people who use wheelchairs.
If a disabled student wants to
take an art course, he said, the
department must move the class to
another building. Disabled students
also have no access to art equip
ment in Richards that cannot be
moved, he said.
Joseph Ruffo, chairperson of the |
Department of Art and Art History,
called the situation very serious.
“If you can’t gel into the
building, that’s pretty serious,” he
“I’d like to see immediate atten
tion given to handicapped accessi
bility and ventilation and air condi
tioning in some rooms.”
Ross, who has taught classes in
Richauls since 1974, remains skep
tical of the administration’s efforts
to fix up the building.
“They do this every few years,
and nothing ever happens,’’ he said.
“I bet nothing gets done at
Richards Hall before I retire.”
Staff reporter Rainbow Rowell con
tributed to this story.
A view into the wax room through a hole in a wall.
The outside of Richards Hall hides an interior that is falling apart, students say.
When a person enters the painting studio a wave of heat and paint fumes hits them in the face. Deb
Oden, a junior art major, says the ventilation is very poor especially in the area where paintings are
dried. The Art League is pushing to make conditions safer and more comfortable.
Richards Hall suffers from years of neglect, lack of funds, officials say
Right: The bowels of the basement are dark, dirty space.
Below: Tom Towater, a senior art major, works in the wax
room before casting a bronze sculpture. The wax room is
probably the worst room in Richards Hall, he said.
- it
It’s by far the worst building
on City Campus.
Richard McDermott,
director of UNL s facilities and Man
agement Department
-*♦ -
Photos by Julia Mikolajcik
There is only one women’s restroom in Richards Hall; it
has only one toilet. Students say it is a tiny room that is •
usually about 91 degrees because the heater is always on. '
The most noticable flaw in Richards Hall is the constant
high temperature, students say. The heaters are always
on, winter or summer. Students say the building is always
hot even in the winter.