North Quad Residential Hall now has competition on Central Campus.
Nearly one month after East Quad Residence Hall reopened following an exhaustive $116-million renovation started in May 2012, a crowd of students, administrators and Residence Hall staff gathered at the refurbished building Wednesday to celebrate its completion.
The event was held throughout East Quad: A band played near the café where snacks were served, an a cappella group sang in Green Lounge, and top administrators, including University President Mary Sue Coleman, spoke outside in the courtyard.
The project — part of the immense Residential Life initiative that has seen the renovation of many residence halls on campus — overhauled almost all aspects of the building and simplified the layout.
2012’s reopening of Alice Lloyd Residence Hall, the renovation of Mosher-Jordan Residence Hall, completed in 2008, Stockwell in 2009 and the more limited, current renovation of South Quad Residence Hall have been part of the same initiative. West Quad Residence Hall’s renovation, set to begin in May 2014, will be the last phase of the project.
E. Royster Harper, the University’s vice president of student affairs, said despite the changes, which included the conversion of the Halfway Inn performance space into a kitchen, the building retains the same cultural aesthetic.
“I think for students who know the old East Quad, there is a sense of loss,” Harper said. “But for the new students, this is the way it will be and they will create their own memories. It is still East Quad, and now with the students here, they will make it funky — the way it was before.”
East Quad now houses 856 students in 329 double rooms and 192 single rooms, and is home to the Residential College and the Michigan Community Scholar Program, a residential learning community focused on service and social justice.
Coleman said in her remarks that she was proud of the way in which the renovated residence hall would help to “strengthen the tie between living and learning.”
“Michigan has traditionally been at the cutting edge of melding the living and learning environment,” Coleman said in an interview after her address. “The RC started way before this was very popular across the country and a lot of colleges are now offering these kinds of experiences.”
Coleman added that this factor helped the University remain competitive with other institutions’ on-campus housing options and that a continual process of improvement would always be needed.
“There is nothing more important to me — nothing more important than making sure the experiences students get at Michigan are unique and academically focused, and make people better human beings, and that is what we are all about,” Coleman said.
Harper touched upon similar themes of melding the living and learning experience.
“What we have accomplished in the renovation of East Quad is a renewal of the constant hope of lifelong living and learning experiences that come out of lasting friendships and prepare our students to be contributing students of the world,” Harper said.
LSA senior Jihad Komis, a student in the Residential College, spent two years living in East Quad prior to the renovation and is now a resident of the renovated building.
“They tried to preserve a lot of the great things that made East Quad unique, but at the same time they really expanded the opportunities for students to explore here,” Komis said.
After the completion of West Quad in 2015, the University’s Board of Regents may consider further renovations to other residence halls, including Bursley Residence Hall on North Campus, but no plans are currently in the works.
Loren Rullman, associate vice president of student affairs, said this is the start of a broader look at buildings across campus, including the campus recreational spaces like the Central Campus Recreational Building.
“We are actually trying to take a comprehensive look at all the spaces students use and (we are) trying to improve them. It is not just residence halls,” Rullman said. “We are trying to make this commitment to students and student life in a more comprehensive way.”