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Regents approve residence hall construction, Pollack as next provost

Adam Glanzman/Daily
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By Sam Gringlas, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 21, 2013

During its first public meeting since December, the University’s Board of Regents convened Thursday to approve an array of construction projects, including large-scale renovation plans for two University residence halls, as well as to approve the appointment of Martha Pollack, the University’s vice provost for budgetary affairs, as the University’s next provost.

Last month, the regents assembled in California to meet with higher-education leaders and donors in lieu of an official January meeting. As a result, Thursday marked the first official appearance of Regents Mark Bernstein (D-Ann Arbor) and Shauna Ryder Diggs (D-Grosse Pointe) since assuming their positions in January.

Regents approve South Quad design

As the next step in plans to renovate South Quad, the board approved designs for the $60 million project that was passed at its meeting last September.

The project will create a Central Campus dining center, similar to that of the Hill Dining Center that services multiple residence halls. Additionally, the updates would add improvements to bathrooms, lounges, study rooms and music practice spaces. The renovations will mostly focus on the ground floor and first floor, covering in total 106,700 square feet of space. Individual dormitories will not be altered.

“This is a crucial continuation of the residential life initiative phase two,” Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer said.

Chris Purdy, a project manager for the SmithGroupJJR architecture and engineering firm, presented the schematic design to the board, mentioning that students were involved with its design.

“The planning process for this project thus far starting early last year involved extensive involvement from the students,” Purdy said. “A number of focus groups were held to really gain the students’ perspective on the project and what they would really like to see.”

Slated for completion in the summer of 2014, the bulk of the plan's cost goes toward structural improvements such as plumbing, heating and a fire detection system.

Helen Newberry, Betsy Barbour and West Quad dining halls are set to close with the inception of the South Quad dining hall.

Regents approve West Quad renovation

To complement the South Quad projects, the board approved a $114.5 million West Quad renovation, which will include plumbing and heating improvements and a new roof for the aging residence hall.

The project will commence in 2014 on the heels of South Quad’s completion. With South Quad’s new Central Campus Dining Center, the West Quad renovation will eliminate the dorm’s kitchen and dining hall in favor of new common spaces and study areas. Built in 1937, West Quad is the third residence hall scheduled for construction as part of the University’s Residential Life Initiative, designed to update facilities associated with living on campus.

“The goals of the program were to ensure that we had state-of-the-art life-safety programs, to upgrade the infrastructure in heritage facilities, to modernize our dining facilities across campus, to introduce different styles of living arrangements and to design facilities that allow for better connection between living and learning,” University Housing Director Linda Newman said in an interview.

E. Royster Harper, the University’s vice president for student affairs, said the renovation will create community spaces similar to the Hill residence halls.

“(West Quad) has been an important community to generations of Michigan students," Harper said during the meeting.