Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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Campus History: Student Academic Success Support building

SASS building nestled between the Miller Nichols Library and the Fine Arts Building
SASS building nestled between the Miller Nichols Library and the Fine Arts Building

The Student Academic Support Services (SASS) building, located near the Miller Nichols Library and the Fine Arts Building, is commonly known for its history as a former U.S. Army barracks.

In 1947, five small buildings were transported to the University of Kansas City from the Lake City ordinance plant and Camp Chowder, near Neosho, Mo.

They were used for the student union, a theater, the pharmacy school and the freshman dentistry building. As of 2010, the only building still on campus is the SASS building.

The buildings were all two-story frame buildings, 35 feet by 135 feet. Each unit had about 10,000 square feet of floor space.

The theater was the largest auditorium on campus, seating 500 people.

In the 1940s, the additional buildings were used to help solve space issues for students as hundreds of applicants were denied because the University had not expanded enough at the time.

The theater building cost the government and the University $60,000.

The dentistry building cost the University $6,000 for a new laboratory installation.

Dr. Roy J. Rinehart, dean of the dentistry college in Aug., 1947 said, adding the new equipment and lecture space will “make this one of the finest physiology laboratories in the country.”

About 250 students were enrolled in the nine classes offered by the pharmacy school at that time.

“These are perhaps the finest buildings that we have erected in the whole country,” said Rufe Newman, deputy commissioner of construction for the federal works administration. “Certainly, they are better than anything in the West and they compare favorably with anything in the East.”

Currently, the SASS building houses offices centers toward student academics.

“The SASS building is home to UMKC’s Math Resource Center and the University’s Upward Bound and Gear Up programs,” according the UMKC website.

Similar to the Writing Center, the Math Resource Center provides students with assistance on their various types of mathematics homework. If you are having trouble with calculus, a graduate assistant or staff member of the mathematics department can help.

“The SASS building is also home to the Center for Academic Development and UMKC’s Supplemental Instruction or SI program,” according to www.umkc.edu/virtualtour/sass.asp.“SI is an academic assistance program utilizing peer-assisted study.”

Graduate students facilitate SI sessions. Sessions vary from Biology to foreign languages. SI sessions meet in a traditional class, at a lecture hall on campus, but the SI instructor works one-on-one with those seeking help with their studies.


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