The University plans to build a new hall with academic offices
and residential suites on the Frieze Building’s current
location, President Mary Sue Coleman announced yesterday.
The Frieze Building, which Coleman and most other administrators
acknowledge is so dilapidated that renovations are unfeasible, will
be torn down in 2006 under the plan. The academic departments
housed in it will be relocated to various parts of the campus
during construction. The new hall should open in 2008.
“I want this building to be a new gateway for the
University,” said Coleman, who wants the building to house
both academic and residential life. “It’s in a great
location, so that students from all over the campus can come and
utilize the space.”
The announcement is a product of years of administrative plans
to build a new residence hall, mostly for upperclassmen. The
University has not built a new residence hall in 30 years. The
University undertook the task of renovating on-campus housing
partly because of an increased demand for upperclassmen
In December, University Housing administrators plan to present
the University Board of Regents with a concept, budget and
architectural firm to construct the new hall.
“This is what we need to do. This is what students have
been asking for,” Coleman said.
While design plans have not been set and a name for the new hall
is up in the air, many administrators, including Coleman, have
posited the name “North Quad.” The hall will most
likely feature suite-style rooms and common lounges, holding at
least 500 students and towering about six or seven stories.
The Carnegie Library — an architectural
“treasure,” next to Frieze, Coleman said — will
also stay intact and may be renovated to become “a digital
library for the new millennium.”
The hall will have one distinct difference from other residence
halls — it will house academic departments from LSA. The
concept is directly in line with Coleman’s desire to
integrate academics with residential life.
“For me that’s part of what’s so unique about
it,” Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper
said. “It will open up the space for other people that have
that (academic) passion as a hobby.”
Administrators discussed the possibility of a screening room for
Film and Video Studies, a video production lab, studios,
classrooms, seminar rooms or a small auditorium in the same
building. Residential suites and academic offices would be
separate, but they would most likely share a marketplace-style
dining hall. These common spaces are meant to facilitate random or
“serendipitous” interaction between students and
faculty, Harper said.
The new hall would not be restricted to film and video majors,
Harper said, but it might attract students with similar
As for the departments currently housed in the Frieze Building,
their fates will vary. The theater and dance departments will move
in 2006 to the Walgreen Drama Center — still in construction
— and Arthur Miller Theater on North Campus. The University
administration was considering this move before it chose the Frieze
Building as the site of the new hall.
By moving the two departments to North Campus, they will be
closer to the School of Music, their umbrella college.
The Provost’s Office will make relocation plans for the
other affected units: Film and Video, Communication Studies, The
Center for Judaic Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Asian Languages
and Cultures and Linguistics.
There are no definite plans yet to replace the smaller, intimate
theaters in the Frieze — both the Arena and Trueblood
theaters — but some administrators have mentioned having a
similar space in the new hall.
University Housing Director Carole Henry said the administration
is now remaining flexible to a number of ideas. But Coleman’s
task force of residential life will meet Sunday to discuss some
“We’re building not just for today but for the
future,” Henry said.
The new hall will be paid for by University Housing and the
central administration, both of which operate as separate entities.
Housing will pay for residential portions and the administration
will fund the academic spaces.
The University considered several locations in choosing the new
hall, including the parking lot between West Quad and Blimpy Burger
and various spots on North Campus.
But Coleman said the Frieze Building was ideal because of its
proximity to the shops on State Street and academic buildings.
It was meant to signal to students that expanding housing is an
important issue in her presidency, she said.