The University has finally decided to tear
down the Frieze Building, the turquoise-checkered campus relic that
for decades has been home to a variety of the University’s
language and fine arts programs, among others. In its place, the
University intends to construct a new residence hall, tentatively
titled “North Quad,” with the capacity to house up to
500 upperclassmen. Along with its residents, the new edifice will
be host to a wealth of new academic facilities, potentially
including classrooms, auditoriums, theatres and production
facilities. The project is a welcome step toward improving
on-campus housing as well as general student facilities.
Furthermore, it should help all upperclassmen by alleviating stress
on the Ann Arbor student housing market.

Angela Cesere

Aside from alleviating the campus of what many consider to be a
giant eyesore, the 7-story “North Quad” represents an
efficient synthesis of housing and academia, as well as a positive
step toward addressing some of Ann Arbor’s most pressing
housing concerns. Though the theatre and dance departments that
once resided in Frieze will be relocated, “North
Quad’s” envisioned academic amenities represent a
cost-effective allocation of space and a positive step toward
reducing sprawl through land conservation and increased
density.

Building upward reduces environmentally dangerous lateral
expansion and sprawl, while at the same time easing housing prices
as real estate supply increases. Landlords in the area will now
receive increased pressure to make off-campus lodging more
affordable. The University hopes the apartment-style rooms will
attract upperclassmen, and accordingly, decrease demand for
off-campus accommodations. In addition to more practical living
spaces, the University may offer students a marketplace-type
cafeteria with state-of-the-art equipment to assist dining hall
employees in preparing higher quality food.

Although the Frieze building’s demise is scheduled for
2006, development planners have managed to save the Carnegie
library — a historically significant public library inside.
The library was one of the 1,679 similar projects that
multi-millionaire Andrew Carnegie of Carnegie Steel endowed. The
construction project includes plans to renovate the library
“for the new millennium,” while still preserving its
historic value.

In addition to facilitating efficient land use, the University
has the opportunity to use the Frieze Building’s demolition
as an opportunity to revitalize performing arts on campus. Frieze
is home to numerous production facilities and fine arts programs
– valuable media for students whether for in-school or
extracurricular purposes, to practice and perform. With these fine
arts venues scheduled to be razed, instead of exporting them to
North Campus, the University should find a place for them on
Central Campus. Putting these performances on Central Campus,
instead of being a bus-ride away at North Campus, will most likely
generate larger audiences and increased visibility.

This will be the first time in 30 years that the University has
constructed a new residence hall. This project will hopefully steer
the University toward more efficient land use, more on-campus
student housing and the continued progression of its film, dance
and theatre programs.

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