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  • Jayhawk Boulevard Reconstruction

    Memories of Jayhawk Boulevard are as varied as the alumni who have called Mt. Oread home. One thing is certain: the beloved street at the heart of campus is distinctly KU. For some, the Boulevard has changed. In the middle of the 20th century, elm trees arched over the Boulevard, shading the street under a canopy that stretched from the Chi Omega fountain to Fraser Hall.

    Dutch elm disease wiped out most of the street trees by the early 1970s, and the original street, sidewalks and utilities deteriorated from years of use. Many of the lower-level plantings also were lost.

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    All that is changing. The first comprehensive update of Jayhawk Boulevard includes replanted canopy trees and landscaping.

    Reconstruction is taking place in annual phases, starting in 2013, and will continue through summer 2016. Phase One reached from the Chi Omega fountain east to Poplar Lane, and Phase Two reached the intersection of the Boulevard with Mississippi Street. In late 2014, the project was honored by the Mid-America Regional Council as a Sustainable Success Story.

    Reconstruction will be funded with $11 million in state money. A new gatehouse also will be built with funding from the parking and transit office. 

    However, state money won’t cover landscaping. The university is partnering with KU Endowment to raise funds to replant the trees. The landscaping project is estimated to cost $600,000 and includes 200 trees and about 80,000 square feet of additional plantings. Fundraising for the project continues, and re-establishing the trees and landscaping is the first priority, said Dale Slusser, assistant vice president for KU Endowment.

    “The beauty of our campus is a real asset, and this will only enhance it,” Slusser said. “The atmosphere on the Hill is so important for recruiting students and in shaping their KU experience.”

    The project also includes: 

    • new pavement, sidewalks and lighting 
    • repair of utility lines, the storm water system and underground tunnels 
    • reconstructed traffic circle at the Chi Omega fountain 
    • marked crosswalks to increase safety

    Read our KU Giving feature on the Jayhawk Boulevard project here or make a gift for the replanting of trees here.