One down, one up. The University’s march of residence hall renovations moves forward.
During its first meeting of the academic year, the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents approved a host of new construction and renovation projects across the Ann Arbor campus, including a $60 million renovation to South Quad Residence Hall.
The renovation of 106,700 square feet will focus on increasing the size of the dining hall, the renovation of restrooms, improved study lounges, and the addition of more study spaces throughout the building. However, a majority of the project’s funds will be devoted to utilities upgrades, a new air conditioning and heating system, and improved wired and wireless internet access.
In an interview before the meeting, E. Royster Harper, the University’s vice president for student affairs, said the project would be similar to the renovations in previous residence halls and improving the student experience while preserving the history of the building is key.
“In our heritage halls, because some of the buildings are so iconic and so beautiful, we’re really investing in them, and investing heavy in the infrastructure,” Harper said. “The majority of the money has been in the infrastructure, in the wiring, in the HVAC systems.”
According to Harper, the renovation of East Quad Residence Hall is still on schedule and the residence hall is slated to reopen in time for the fall semester of 2013. However, closing South Quad at the same time that East Quad will reopen will result in a net loss of 300 beds in the University Housing system.
“We’ll be in this kind of crunch for several more years,” Harper said. “We’ve been doing pretty good at accommodating student who want to stay in the residence halls, and making sure we have a place for our first year students.”
After the renovation of South Quad is complete, Harper said the University will move forward with a planned renovation of the West Quad. Harper added that this effort will complete the renovations of the Hill neighborhood and “heritage” residence halls.
Harper reiterated that Baits I on North Campus will not reopen as a residence hall, but may be used as temporary office space in the future.