Pickard Hall FAQ

Pickard Hall, built in 1892 as the Chemical Laboratory, is in the heart of the University of Missouri campus. It, along with 19 other buildings, was placed on the National Historic Register in 1973 as part of the Francis Quadrangle Historic District (Red Campus) [http://dnr.mo.gov/shpo/nps-nr/73001036.pdf].

The Chemical Laboratory, also known as the Chemistry Building, Old Chemistry Building, School of Commerce and the Art History and Archaeology Building, was renamed Pickard Hall in the mid-1970s when it was renovated and became home to the Art History and Archaeology departments and museum.

  • Original construction: 1892
  • Renovated in 1974
  • Exterior renovations: 1999
  • Named after John Pickard, Professor of Greek and Chair of Classical Archaeology and History of Art.

Herman Schlundt, who joined the faculty in 1902, studied radium refining in the building from 1913 into the 1930s, and extract thorium-228 (formerly known as radiothorium) that was used by other labs, including that of Marie Curie, who won a Nobel Prize in physics and chemistry for her work on radioactivity.

From the late 1970s to 2007, MU discovered lingering radiation and took steps to remove it or place barriers over it. Later, MU restricted access to the basement and attic to reduce exposure. MU’s Environmental Health and Safety monitored levels, which continually returned low readings.

In 2007, new regulations required the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to “decommission” sites with naturally occurring radioactive materials. MU notifies the NRC in 2009 that the regulations apply to Pickard Hall; and NRC asks for a two-year cleanup plan. MU closed Pickard Hall in 2013 to work with the NRC to determine a decommissioning plan.

Herman Schlundt was an MU researcher who made significant contributions to science by extracting and refining radioactive metals from low-grade ore and industrial waste. Schlundt’s lab in Pickard Hall served as both a research center and industrial refinery. Schlundt was both a public researcher and educator as well as a private-sector industrial chemist, who turned to industry to finance his research. Industrial processors of radioactive ores and waste products would donate nearly worthless raw materials to Schlundt who would extract and return valuable radioactive metal.

Mizzou, along with the NRC, will determine what might be salvageable at the time of the demolition.

University administration and committees will determine the needs of the university at the time a building is constructed.

The university will work with the master planner using established design principles in considering the size, architectural style and function of the new structure. The campus is categorized into four core-campus areas, and new structures take into consideration the architectural style of neighboring buildings.