If you’re a graduate student living in the new Munger Graduate Residences, climbing through dorm windows at night to get a strictly prohibited rooftop view will not be part of your residential life experience.
Munger Graduate Residences will open its doors to nearly 630 single graduate students in mid-August. The $155 million project includes a rooftop patio and running track overlooking Michigan Stadium, in addition to entire floors dedicated to common spaces and study spaces for residents. The project ultimately cost $30 million under the original budget of $185 million.
Each individual unit is part of a six or seven-bedroom suite, and though each resident has his or her own bathroom, kitchen and study spaces in the suite are shared. Suites were designed with interdisciplinary collaboration in mind, Amir Baghdadchi, the University Housing’s Assistant Director of Communications, said during a tour Friday.
Graduate student Ashley Adams, a Planning Fellow who will be living at Munger Graduate Residences in the fall, said she and the other Planning Fellows will organize programs and provide resources to residents.
“The building is beautiful, but the mission of the program was really a driver for me. I was a Planning Fellow, and so our student input was really valuable and even residents get to decide how they will want to use the space and it can adjust to their needs,” Adams said.
Students of at least four different areas of study are assigned to suites. Spaces like the theater-style multimedia room are all designed to create a unique graduate experience and encourage students to explore areas of study outside of their own, Baghdadchi said.
“Housing is a way to bring people together who do different kinds of things,” he said. “When you live next to each other, amazing things can happen.”
Living a balanced life was also an idea planners kept in mind when designing Munger Graduate Residences. The lower level includes a game room, theater, and indoor bike rack. Stairs are lined with grooves to make moving bikes up and down from the bike storage area easier.
“If you don’t make it easy to live life with a bike, they won’t do it. So this is a way to nudge them toward that lifestyle,” Baghdadchi said.
Baghdadchi also said Munger is on track to achieve Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The building exceeds energy efficiency code requirements by 30 percent.
The 8th floor of Munger Graduate Residences — what Badhdadchi called the heart of the residence hall — is divided into indoor and outdoor space and includes a rooftop patio garden and large windows that can slide open during warmer months. The top floor is also equipped with an exercise room.
Most of the furniture has yet to be moved into the residence hall, though the project is said to be on schedule for completion in just over two weeks when staff residence begin arriving. The project was designed modularly for maximization of efficiency and was approved by the Board of Regents in September 2013 after the University received a $110 million donation from University alum Charles Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.
Students expressed concerns in 2013 about the price of living in the residence hall and in the idea itself of creating a graduate residence hall. Seven bedroom units will cost $850 per month and 6 bedroom units will cost $900 per month.
For those of legal age, consuming alcohol is permitted in the residence hall.
To live in the residence hall, graduate students complete an application process that includes essays and a questionnaire about their interests so they can be paired in suites with students of different disciplines but who have overlapping interests. Seven graduate students are Senior Fellows and 19 are Junior Fellows. Fellows will facilitate community building and act as leaders, with one Senior Fellow assigned to each floor.
“This program was helped to be put together by the graduate students themselves. Every school and college at the University of Michigan is going to be represented in this building. They all are a part of this neighborhood. It is a microcosm of what it is like to be a graduate student at Michigan — all of the schools and colleges and every place people come from to the University of Michigan,” Badhadchi said.