40 percent of WSU buildings are in same or worse condition than Fairmount Towers


Brian Hayes

Fairmount Towers, formerly student housing.

Thirty-four of 84 Wichita State buildings are in the same or poorer condition than Fairmount Towers, according to a Kansas Board of Regents report on building conditions at state institutions.

This summer, the university announced plans to close and eventually demolish Fairmount Towers, citing “facility condition concerns,” and saying that the facility had “reached the end of its useful life.”

The Kansas Board of Regents Inventory of Physical Facilities and Space Utilization report rates building conditions at state institutions on a scale of 0-100. The latest version of the report was released in January.

The report rates Fairmount Towers 76/100, which falls into the “fair” category. Thirty-four WSU buildings, or approximately 40 percent, currently rank equal to or poorer than Fairmount Towers in condition.

Among the buildings ranking worse than Fairmount Towers are Clinton Hall (72/100), Devlin Hall (74/100), Engineering Building (73/100), McKnight Art Center (74/100), and Wilner Auditorium (74/100).

Among the poorest rated buildings are Blake Hall (49/100), Cessna Stadium (53/100), and Henrion Hall (58/100) , which fall into the “poor” condition category.

Associate Vice President for Facilities Eric King said the university has received permission to demolish Blake Hall and will do so in the near future.

King said WSU is concerned about the “ever increasing backlog of deferred maintenance” on old buildings.

King said that the university had alternatives to Fairmount Towers, such as Shocker Hall and The Flats. The 300 students that planned to live in Fairmount Towers this year were told they would be moved to The Flats, a privately-owned apartment complex on Innovation Campus, about a month before move-in day.

King said the plan to demolish Fairmount Towers was nothing new.

“Razing Fairmount Towers has been submitted as a request to the Kansas Board of Regents and the Kansas Legislature the past three years,” King said.

King said similar alternatives were not feasible for other campus buildings.

“We have few alternatives on campus to relocate occupants of academic buildings,” King said in an email.

By comparison, building conditions for student housing at other state institutions in Kansas range anywhere from 45-95.

According to the Regents report, the 66.4 percent of WSU’s property falls into the “fair” condition category, or a rating of 60-79.