But can CU refashion the building to better serve students and faculty? No sweat.
Thomas Edison famously said that genius was “one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” For the last 77 years, summer work and study in CU-Boulder’s Ketchum Arts and Sciences building inevitably involved sweat. The building had no air conditioning.
Thanks to a major renovation, that and many other architectural deficiencies are being corrected.
“If sweat were really the key to creating geniuses, then Ketchum has produced an over-abundance of them throughout the years,” quips one faculty member.Ketchum was built in 1938 just southeast of Norlin Library as the engineering administration building and was one of the last buildings on campus to be designed by architect Charles Z. Klauder. Ketchum currently houses classroom and office space for the departments of ethnic studies, political science and sociology and also dry lab and office space for the department of ecology and evolutionary biology (EBIO).
The Ketchum building is undergoing a complete renovation this year, in part due to capital renewal funding from the state. This top-to-bottom transformation will bring Ketchum into the 21st century, with new materials, modern mechanical systems, state-of-the-art equipment and a more-functional layout.
As a central academic building in CU-Boulder’s College of Arts and Sciences, Ketchum had been on the list for state-funded capital renewal projects since 2002. Now, more than a decade later, funding has finally been secured, and construction has begun.
“This renovation means an awful lot to the faculty,” says David S. Brown, chair of the political science department. “It’s a signal by the state, the university and the college that what we’re doing in the social sciences is important and worth the investment.”One of the most important design elements will be the separation of classrooms from office space. In the old Ketchum, classrooms, lab space and faculty offices were intermingled throughout the building, creating a chaotic and disruptive environment.
“Perhaps the biggest problem in Ketchum was the flow of traffic in and out of the building,” says Brown. “Classrooms located directly across from faculty offices created all sorts of noise and security issues.”
In the new Ketchum, all classroom and student lab space will be on one floor. The first and second floors will be dedicated to offices for tenured and tenure-track faculty, and the third and fourth floors will house instructors, lecturers and graduate students.
“There will also be much more shared space in the new Ketchum, so faculty and students can interact using study spaces and common lounge areas on the faculty floors,” says Ann Carlos, professor economics and associate dean for social sciences. According to Carlos, this will result in better collaboration in a more “contemplative” environment.
"If sweat were really the key to creating geniuses, then Ketchum must have produced an over-abundance of them throughout the years.”
The Ketchum renovation project began with demolition and removal of almost all of Ketchum’s aging interior, leaving only a shell of the walls and roofs behind and a blank slate for the contractor to create a virtually new building.
The improvements in the project include:
- New electrical, heating and cooling systems
- Double-paned, energy-efficient windows to replace the leaky, single-pane ones
- Modern, ADA-compliant restrooms
- Updated classrooms with state of the art technology
- New lab space for EBIO
- Better building safety and security features
- Modern office furniture
Some of the green technologies incorporated into the new Ketchum include the following:
- Efficient mechanical systems (heating and cooling)
- Low-flow water fixtures
- Improved insulation
- High-efficiency LED lighting
- Double-paned windows
- Low-VOC materials (paint, carpet, furniture, etc., that emit comparatively few hazardous volatile organic compounds)
The renovation will lower utility bills, and the project will also save future maintenance costs.According to Zach Tupper, buildings manager for the College of Arts and Sciences, the Ketchum project presents a new approach to deferred maintenance projects on campus.
“Because of funding constraints, deferred maintenance has historically been treated with a triage approach: we fix the most urgent things first until the funding runs out,” says Tupper.
“The Ketchum renovation offers a more holistic approach whereby everything is repaired at the same time. This offers cost savings from the leveraged economies of scale and a finished product that is, for all intents and purposes, a ‘new’ building.”
When the Ketchum renovation is complete, the college will create a dedicated Ketchum Scholar Fund to provide undergraduate scholarships for ethnic studies, political science and sociology. The scholarships will be funded from the naming of seminar, classroom and departmental spaces in the new Ketchum building.
Donors will have the opportunity to name spaces in the new Ketchum, and their funding support will become part of the Ketchum Scholar Endowment.Preserving the historical significance of the structure and the important architectural elements of the building’s original design is central to the project. The five-story Ketchum building is considered one of the finest examples of the “Tuscan Vernacular Revival” style of architecture, developed by architect Charles Z. Klauder, which gives the CU-Boulder campus its distinctive look.
The architectural style is characterized by rough, textured sandstone walls with sloping, multi-leveled red-tiled roofs and limestone trim. Ketchum was the last of 15 CU-Boulder buildings designed by Klauder between 1921 and 1938.
Ketchum was named after Milo Ketchum, an early dean of the School of Engineering. In 1965, engineering moved to a new complex, and Ketchum began housing departments of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Upon completion in December 2015, the new Ketchum will be a completely modern, state-of-the-art teaching and office facility: the shining jewel of the College of Arts and Sciences academic building portfolio.
Laura Kriho is web and publications coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences.