This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Kimball getting full makeover

  • Exterior renovations on this side of Kimball Tower were completed in fall 2010; they will begin on the other side this spring. Photo: NANCY J. PARISI

Published: February 17, 2011

The dust is flying in Kimball Tower as the home of the School of Public Health and Health Professions undergoes its most extensive renovation since its conversion from a dormitory in the 1970s.

More than $10 million in interior and exterior renovations—$2.7 million in masonry restoration and $7.5 million in interior work—began five years ago and is expected to be mostly completed by 2012.

The interior rehab project features a complete renovation of floors 2 through 11. Structural work includes replacement of concrete walls with drywall, updating of the electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems—the building now will have central air conditioning—and the installation of new data lines and wireless access on every floor. Cosmetic work includes painting, new carpeting, new tile in the foyers and new office doors, as well as new window blinds, kitchens and bathrooms, which will be ADA compliant.

The building’s first floor will receive its makeover in summer 2011, with an updating of the heating and cooling systems and current classroom space, and new paint and carpeting. The work also will include the addition of “learning landscape” areas, similar to those in Knox Hall and the Natural Sciences Complex on the North Campus, where students have access to data connections, computer stations and comfortable furniture—all designed to create more inviting places for students to gather.

First-floor space previously occupied by the School of Nursing, which left Kimball in the summer and fall of 2009 to occupy new space in Wende and Beck halls, will be renovated into classroom and lab space for the chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Science.

The benefits of the renovation work for faculty, staff and students are significant.

For one thing, it will bring more of the school’s outlying departments to Kimball. The Department of Biostatistics, formerly located in Farber Hall, already has moved to the seventh floor of Kimball. And school officials are in the early stages of discussing a possible move of lab and classroom space from Diefendorf Annex to Kimball.

Bringing more of the school together in one building “helps improve communication and collaboration between the various departments, and a better sense of camaraderie,” says Dean Lynn Kozlowski.

Officials note that the planning process for Kimball Tower is ongoing and flexible. “With the school being spread out around the campus, we are continually trying to revise the plans to best suit the school as a whole, while at the same time providing adequate and appropriate office, lab and teaching space,” says April Whitehead, assistant to the dean.

Kimball Tower has a varied history. Completed in 1957, it served as Tower Residence Hall from 1957-73. Renamed Stockton Kimball Tower in 1973 for the nationally known educator, community leader and former dean of the UB medical school, it housed the Health Sciences Library from 1974 until 1985, when HSL moved to the renovated Abbott Hall.

The School of Nursing occupied the upper floors of Kimball for more than 30 years. The School of Public Health and Health Professions now is the lone occupant of the building. Departments residing in Kimball are Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Community Health and Health Behavior, and Rehabilitation Science. The Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information Exchange also is located in Kimball, as well as part of the Center for Assistive Technology.