Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Residence halls receive upgrades

Students returning to several residence halls in the fall will receive a pleasant surprise—new furniture, windows and modernized common spaces.

Workers are spending the summer sprucing up areas in Johnson-McFarlane Hall, Centennial Towers, Centennial Halls and in furnished on-campus apartments with nearly $1 million worth of improvements, according to student housing officials.

Johnson-McFarlane (J-Mac) is slated for the most extensive renovations. A new layer is being added to the roof and the building’s sprinkler and fire alarm systems are being updated.

All room and common area windows will be replaced with double-paned, energy efficient windows. According to Mike Furno, associate director of housing operations, testing of the new windows in a demonstration room showed a significant energy savings.

In J-Mac’s common lounge areas, existing unused patios will be incorporated into the building, giving an additional 20 square feet of space. Each lounge will receive a new sofa, lounge chair, coffee table, and a tablet chair — a lounge chair with swing arm table. Hallway carpet will be replaced if time allows.

Furno hopes the changes will make the lounges more appealing so they are utilized more.

“Over the last year and a half, we’ve assessed common space usage and realized that the lounges are used for social gatherings, study, and programming,” Furno says. “We are addressing each building and making sure that spaces for each activity are represented somewhere in the building.”

Additionally, windows in Centennial Towers north will be replaced. Bedrooms in Centennial Halls and Towers will receive new bed sets, dressers and desks. Lounge areas will receive new furniture including study tables and chairs. The on-campus furnished apartments will also receive new living room furniture.

The old furniture removed from the residence halls will be given to fraternity and sorority houses and local nonprofit agencies.

Pending project approval, the Driscoll Commons will be renovated to provide space for student organizations to hold meetings and events. According to Driscoll Student Center Director John Nichols, the campus food service committee elected to close the Commons due to a significant reduction in demand for food service. Dining operations in the building will be consolidated into Sidelines Pub.

If the student organization space project is approved, Nichols hopes that the work will be finished before students return from summer break.

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