The University Board of Regents approved a new design for North Quad at its December meeting. It will be campus’s first new residence hall since Bursley Hall was built 1968.

Sarah Royce
Schematic drawings of North Quad approved by the Regents in December. (Courtesy of the University of Michigan)

The schematic design and budget for North Quad were originally scheduled to be approved at the Regents meeting in March. At the last minute, though, administrators decided to delay the approval, citing concerns over the aesthetics of the building’s exterior.

In an interview after the meeting, Coleman said the original design wasn’t welcoming enough.

A nine-month delay means that the dorm University President Mary Sue Coleman has called the northwestern gateway to Central Campus will open at least a year later than scheduled. The hall is now slated for completion in 2010. It will also cost an extra $38 million.

The University hired architectural firm Robert A.M. Stern to rework the designs with help from Einhorn Yaffee Prescott, the architecture firm behind the original designs.

Coleman said the new structure will echo many of the other buildings on campus, reflecting the aesthetics of structures like Weill Hall, also designed by architects at Robert A.M. Stern.

“It’s more urban, it’s more Michigan, it’s more who we are,” Coleman said of the new design.

The architects said the building will cost $175 million, up from the original estimate of $137 million.

University Chief Financial Officer Tim Slottow said the extra expenses reflect a one-year delay in the original construction schedule, the cost of bringing in a new architecture firm and enhanced architectural features.

The building will stand on the current site of the Frieze Building, the demolition of which the regents approved at their September meeting.

The new complex, designed to merge academic facilities and residential space, will house 460 students, the School of Information, the departments of Communication Studies and Screen Arts and Culture, the Language Resource Center and the Sweetland Writing Center. The residential part of the building will include a top-floor community lounge overlooking campus, air conditioning in every room, personal bathrooms and updated dining facilities.

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