The Kansas Preservation Alliance is the statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the heritage of Kansas. We would like to respond to the Aug. 12 article regarding the reuse of Hennessy Hall.

    We certainly applaud the community for seeing the value of reusing this historic building. Reusing this building will keep tons of debris out of the landfill; the cost of demolition can be applied to renovation; historic buildings can be retrofitted for energy conservation; the craftsman’s skills that were part of the building of Hennessy Hall could not be replicated today; the energy used to manufacture and transport materials for a new building will be saved.


 The Kansas Preservation Alliance is the statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the heritage of Kansas. We would like to respond to the Aug. 12 article regarding the reuse of Hennessy Hall.
    We certainly applaud the community for seeing the value of reusing this historic building. Reusing this building will keep tons of debris out of the landfill; the cost of demolition can be applied to renovation; historic buildings can be retrofitted for energy conservation; the craftsman’s skills that were part of the building of Hennessy Hall could not be replicated today; the energy used to manufacture and transport materials for a new building will be saved.
    Unfortunately, the newspaper article had much misinformation about the historic preservation stipulations for reuse of Hennessy Hall. Maintaining the National Register listing of Hennessy Hall would not entail preserving every historical aspect of the building, and it would keep the building eligible for rehabilitation tax credits and grant funds. Character-defining features of the principal public spaces would need to be retained; therefore, the proposed addition should not be stuck on the front of the building. However, the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation do allow flexibility in renovation of the majority of the building for safety and fire codes as well as new uses. Utilizing the historic rehabilitation tax credits would not result in forfeiting the 49 percent bond repayment. The misinformation in this article needs to be addressed and corrected.
    We have all been witness to poorly thought-out renovations and “updating” of historic buildings. A thoughtful renovation that respects the historic integrity of Hennessy Hall will be appreciated by future generations as it continues to play a vital role in Dodge City.

Janine E. Joslin, executive director
Kansas Preservation Alliance Inc.
Leawood