Posted on Aug 26, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News
On Sunday, August 14, we tagged along with the McKee family for move-in day. Julie McKee, c’87, and her husband Mark, b’83, helped their second daughter, Chandler, move into Corbin Hall, and little sister Brooke was along for the adventure. KU announced earlier this year that Corbin Hall will be restored and renovated in 2017.
Julie McKee, c’87, walked into Corbin Hall and was immediately taken back in time. A few years had passed, of course, and her three daughters were a reminder of the passage of time. Corbin had changed some too, of course. The decorations and some of the furniture were different, but much of the historic building was exactly as she remembered, including the atmosphere- a familiar mix of excitement and uncertainty that comes with a life-changing moment, like going off to college.
Welcome to move-in day.
For more than 90 years, Corbin Hall has served as the largest female-only residence hall for undergraduates at the University of Kansas, which means multiple generations of Jayhawks, like the McKees, have lived there. Corbin was the first home-away-from-home for countless KU alumni, and a new crop of eager freshmen moved in August 14. However, this year’s group of girls will have a unique experience compared to those who will follow; they will live in the same Corbin Hall inhabited by their mothers and grandmothers, and they’ll be the last class to do so.
Earlier this year, KU announced plans to close Corbin in 2017 so renovations–and restorations–can be made to the aging facility. Upgrades to plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems will be made at a cost of around $13.5 million, improving all student rooms, restrooms, public spaces and the entryway. Corbin is scheduled to reopen in 2018. That made this year’s move-in day a special occasion, especially for those who once lived in Corbin. The next group to move in, once restoration and improvements are complete, will experience a much more modern facility that retains all the architectural charm this historic KU building has to offer.
Originally built in 1923, Corbin was extended in 1951 with the addition of the north building. It has been updated through the years, but the structure and layout have remained largely unchanged, which former residents will recall. You might tell a fellow Jayhawk you lived in Corbin. A woman would know to ask “north or south?”
Each wing was known for its quirks and its own culture, history and personality. A bond was created among the girls on each floor that survived bid day, bad dates and changed majors.
Julie McKee, her husband Mark, b’83, helped their daughter unload, unpack and decorate her room with fresh new bedding before speaking with us about their family’s move-in day experience, which was admittedly bittersweet. Chandler McKee, like most KU freshmen, radiated optimism, knowing it was finally her turn to be a Jayhawk.
And her new address would be 420 West 11th Street, better known as Corbin Hall.