Preparations begin to tear down the old Carriage House on UMKC campus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- History on the University of Missouri-Kansas City's campus is coming down, making way for the future.

“It's sad to see this building come down,” said Jim Wanser, the board president of the Historic Kansas City Foundation.

Preparations to tear down the old Carriage House on the university's campus began Monday. UMKC is building a $32 million engineering and computer science laboratory where the Carriage House now stands.

“It became a real concern to us in that it was a short-sighted decision that didn't respect the history of not only UMKC, but the community of Kansas City,” Wanser said.

But the Historic Kansas City Foundation feels tearing this building down is an injustice to the school and the community.

UMKC Carriage House

“We very much understand the importance of expanding programs for students and the importance of UMKC to the Kansas City community and the region, but we think it lacks imagination, insight and leadership to demolish this building for a driveway and a loading dock,” Wanser added.

He said demolishing the Carriage House will be a significant loss to Kansas City's history.

“Walter Dickey, who built the big mansion on the hill, built this Carriage House in 1913, and it`s one of the two original buildings left on the University of Kansas City campus, what it was called in 1931 when the campus opened,” Wanser said.

And he believes tearing it down is a big mistake.

“The building has been utilized for classrooms, for offices, and I think people are protective over Kansas City history,” Wanser said.

In a statement from the university, it said UMKC has a demonstrated longterm commitment to historical preservation. The university goes on to say it's committed to preserving the actual Dickey Mansion building -- and that there is no cost-effective alternative.

The red roof tiles will be removed intact and preserved for future use. The stone masonry of the building will be preserved and reused for retaining walls and seating at the north entrance to the building.

But Wanser said that's a short-sighted explanation, and outrage on social media has blown up since they posted it three weeks ago.

“The community is appalled that the university would demolish this building for such a limited need,” Wanser said.

The actual demolition of the building will happen in the upcoming weeks.