Housing changes that happened this summer

Maggie Curry

We sat down with Department of Residence (DOR) marketing coordinator Brittney Rutherford to hear about the changes students can expect on campus this year.

Summer housing projects

Birch, Welch, Roberts, Barton, Lyon and Freeman Residence Halls, all located in the area on campus referred to as Richardson Court, had the second part of a two-phase project this past summer.

“There’s different odds and ends happening over there, by the end of it everything will be life-cycled,” Rutherford said.

Life-cycling: updating the flooring, paint and lighting in a room.

“Those are highly sought-after buildings, and I think it’s partly due to the architecture and the community,” Rutherford said. “It’s a cool building and a cool area right in the middle of campus.”

In addition, Barton and Freeman Hall’s bathrooms were completely renovated to resemble those in Buchanan Hall.

Students walk into the sink area, with toilets in a back room and showers separated by a walk-through area for changing. The bathrooms are also now ADA compliant, Rutherford said.

“That took them out of what was probably the ‘70s, I’m guessing,” Rutherford said.

Birch, Welch, Roberts and Lyon are scheduled to have the same bathroom updates next summer.

Wallace and Wilson Residence Halls, commonly referred to as ‘Towers,’ also are in the midst of a two-phase project.

Phase one was this past summer, with new paint, flooring and lighting in the rooms. Elevator modernization and updates in the hallways also occurred.

“Anybody who’s a returner is going to come back to a completely different space,” Rutherford said.

Staff also went through as they were in the building and identified additional places for student use.

“Does it make sense to put a conference table in there, new lighting, painting, those kind of things,” Rutherford said.

The second phase is scheduled for summer 2018 with new windows for the rooms. Rutherford said new windows are already on the ends of the buildings, in common rooms and single student rooms.

Rutherford also said a cluster of Frederiksen Court buildings get lifecycling each summer.

“Our facilities plan is pretty intense, it goes out about 10 years and talks about all the things that are going to happen to all the different buildings along the way,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford said it was exciting to see bigger projects begin that students will notice. One example is the LifeSafety system, which includes sprinkler systems.

“The stuff that’s behind the scenes, electricity and wiring, that’s important because you need it. But it’s not as fun,” Rutherford said. “It’s not really exciting to put in a new sewer line, but it’s necessary, it’s very important.”

Many of the projects are planned years in advance because the DOR is self-funded, Rutherford said.

“You have to make sure the funding is lined up in advance because we’re self-funded, we don’t take any state money,” Rutherford said. “We’re self-generating.”

Rutherford also said the DOR takes the time to get student input on their priorities.

“We might think ‘oh this is a really good idea’ but then we run it through students and they’re like ‘yeah, but maybe this way’ or ‘do that.’ We’re here for them, they’re our customers, we want to make them happy and make the renovations they want to see.”

Find the Department of Residence online or on Twitter @CycloneHome.


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