After spending the last 44 years in East Quad Residence Hall, the Residential College will have a new home next year.
The Residential College, currently located in East Quad Residence Hall, will temporarily move to West Quad Residence Hall next fall while East Quad undergoes a year of major renovations, according to University Housing spokesman Peter Logan. The Michigan Community Scholars Program, also currently housed in East Quad, will be re-located to West Quad.
While West Quad offers the same residential accommodations as East Quad, it does not have the classrooms and offices needed by the RC, according to RC Director Angela Dillard. To remedy the lack of classrooms, the RC is looking into reserving classrooms in the Dennison Building. This will cover most of the community’s needs, but it will also use some spaces on North Campus and in Alice Lloyd Residence Hall, the Burton Tower and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.
The dispersal of classes across campus will be a big change to the RC’s structure. Dillard wrote in an e-mail interview that the RC does not anticipate the relocation having a negative effect on its admissions for next year.
“Nothing in our basic educational mission or approach will change,” Dillard wrote. “In fact, we can see ways that the move will heighten the appeal of the RC as an intentional community since leaving the East Quad has forced us to think more actively and creatively about what our community is and how best to keep it strong and engaged.”
The $116 million East Quad renovation is expected to be finished in summer 2013. The improvements will be “top-to-bottom,” Dillard wrote.
“It’s … one that preserves the traditional feel of the old East Quad while making much needed improvements in terms of both structure and design,” she wrote.
East Quad renovations will include new fire detection and suppression systems, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems, upgraded restrooms and student rooms, an improved dining hall, better Internet access and accessibility modifications, according to Logan.
The goals for the East Quad renovation are consistent with the Residential Life Initiatives launched by University President Mary Sue Coleman in 2004, Logan wrote in an e-mail interview.
“With the renovation, University Housing will be able to provide an environment that truly serves the living-learning connection so visible and dynamic for the past many years,” Logan wrote.
The renovations will add new sustainability features in East Quad, according to Logan. Some water conservation improvements include dual-flush toilets, as well as flow-reduction sink faucets and showerheads. Student rooms will be equipped with dual temperature systems with individual thermostat control, and zone heating and cooling will manage energy use in different parts of the building.
Dillard wrote that though leaving East Quad may be difficult for students who like the familiarity and closeness of the building, the move will help facilitate student bonding.
“Taking the RC out of that comfort zone and making it more dispersed in terms of space means that we all have to be much more thoughtful, reflective and intentional,” Dillard wrote. “Working hard at something like community building can make it all the more meaningful.”
LSA freshman Christiana Allen-Pipkin, who is in the Residential College, said she is looking forward to living in West Quad, but will miss the advantages of East Quad.
“While I’m excited about the changes — because East Quad really needs to be renovated — it’s also going to be different not having class here,” Allen said. “I am so used to just coming downstairs to go to Spanish.”
Allen said she is also excited about the installation of new, higher showerheads — an issue Dillard noted was a huge concern for students as they indicated in last year’s housing survey. Allen added that she is looking forward to the changes in the dining hall layout, which will make eating with students from the RC easier.
“The dining hall setup right now is kind of a problem,” Allen said. “It’s nice to have a whole area for lunch tables (for the RC), but they are so far from the cafeteria that you have to bring extra food because you can’t go back.”
While the RC moves to West Quad, the Health Sciences Scholars Program living and learning community will relocate to Couzens.
Couzens was the home of the University’s School of Nursing from 1925 until 1954, according to Tomas Baiza, associate director of the HSSP. The Central Residence for Nurses originally housed approximately 260 nursing students before it was re-named after its benefactor, former U.S. Senator James Couzens.
“University Housing and LSA both felt that HSSP’s relocation to Couzens would be a unique opportunity to tap into the building’s health-care past and serve as a hub for students generally interested in health and wellness,” Baiza wrote in an e-mail interview.
Couzens reopened this year following a comprehensive renovation upgrading its infrastructure and additions outlined in the Residential Life Initiatives program. Since Couzens offers state-of-the-art learning and meeting spaces, HSSP will be able to hold more of its events and classes there, Baiza wrote.
“Living in a new building where there is a lot of positive energy will inspire our students to do new and innovative things that enhance everyone’s experience,” Baiza wrote.
Correction appended: A previous version of this article misstated one of the learning communities that will be moving to West Quad Residence Hall. It is the Michigan Community Scholars Program.