Community Open Houses
LPA, the new owner of the Lawrence Turnhalle (pronounced “Turnhalluh”), will welcome members of the public to view the historic structure in its pre-rehabilitation state at two open houses in April. If you’ve been curious about this significant structure and wondering about LPA’s plans, now is your chance!
Saturday, April 13, 10am – Noon
Sunday, April 21, 2 – 4pm
Turnhalle, 900 Rhode Island
LPA board members will be available to visit, answer questions, and provide printed handouts of LPA’s chosen course of action with this property.
Baron and Domer to Speak
Short history presentations will be delivered on both days. We will learn about the German-American Turners, their many contributions to the initial building of Lawrence, and their public involvement in our community through 1917. Dennis Domer, New Cities Project Director, Associate Dean/Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas, will speak at the April 13 event at 10:30am. Frank Baron, professor of German and director of the Max Kade Center for German-American studies at the University of Kansas, will speak on April 21 at 2:30pm. There may not be two more knowledgeable speakers on this subject in the area.
As Turnhalle is entering into a period of intense structural study and initial phases of rehab, there are no other opportunities planned for the general public to visit Turnhalle in the foreseeable future. Be sure to stop by!
LPA and the Turnhalle
Last September, a unanimous vote by the LPA board authorized the use of the Nancy Shontz Revolving Fund to purchase the historic Lawrence Turnhalle. This bold initial action rescued Turnhalle from a downward spiral of neglect. Seeing itself as an interim owner of the property, LPA is now committed to completing a number of subsequent actions that, once a qualified preservation-minded buyer is found, will ensure the preservation of Turnhalle well into the future. These actions are ones that only a preservation non-profit such as LPA is suited to do.
DID YOU KNOW?
A Revolving Fund is a special use fund set aside for preservation emergencies and important projects. It revolves when monies are returned to the fund after successful completion and sale of a project. LPA’s fund is named for Nancy Shontz, a tireless worker for preservation and one of LPA’s founding members.
Initial work has involved volunteer cleanup, and a systematic series of professional visits to the site by over forty of LPA’s many friends in the area to look at specific aspects of the project. Incremental emergency measures have been undertaken to stabilize the structure and begin a stopgap process of making it weathertight.
LPA has hired Treanor Architects, who will work in conjunction with a structural engineer, to complete a Historic Structures Report (HSR) for Turnhalle, a key component to the success of the rehabilitation work to follow. The HSR will be completed by June 30. LPA will then place a preservation easement on the property, which only a current owner of a property can do. While specifics of this document are still being crafted, aspects to be addressed will involve modification proposals that would alter or remove its character-defining features.
DID YOU KNOW?
A Historic Structures Report (HSR), is like a milestone physical for a building. Through drawing and photo documentation, it details the existing condition of the structure, and using a holistic approach, identifies repairs needed and describes appropriate rehab solutions.
During its time of ownership, LPA is applying for grant funds to begin rehabilitation tasks described in the HSR. A fund drive with a goal of $35,000 in personal donations has also been underway since January. These monies, along with internal LPA funds left over after making the purchase down payment, will be used as matching funds to leverage the anticipated grant funding.
DID YOU KNOW?
A preservation easement is a legal document placed by the owner on a property prior to sale. Keyed to drawings and photos in the HSR, it requires the consent of the easement holder before changes by any subsequent owner can be made to character-defining features of the property.
To date, over $30,000 has been raised, mostly in donations of $500 and up. This allows the fundraising goal to be reached by community donations from our many friends and supporters of the Turnhalle. These donations, once Turnhalle is sold, will be placed back into the Revolving Fund, leaving LPA even more prepared to tackle the next preservation emergency. We can return Turnhalle to its rightful place as a significant part of our community, but Turnhalle now needs your help as much as it needs ours.
You can help save Turnhalle and strengthen the LPA Revolving Fund for years to come!
If you would like to make a special donation to LPA to help cover rehab expenses at Turnhalle, Fill out and mail in this form, with your check.
Lawrence Preservation is published quarterly by the Lawrence Preservation Alliance. Our mission is to preserve historically significant buildings and natural environments, and to educate the community about the benefits of historic preservation. We welcome your comments, suggestions, and questions.