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Updated 10:00 AM October 25, 2004
 

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Residential Life Initiatives move forward


The first project for student housing renewal to come before the Board of Regents since the recently announced Residential Life Initiatives has received approval. The $12.2 million plan calls for installation of life safety equipment and infrastructure upgrades to accommodate technology needs in West Quadrangle.

At the September board meeting, Division of Student Affairs representatives presented regents with a long-range plan for upgrading existing residential and dining facilities, as well as plans for a new residence hall.

West Quad will be the ninth hall to have fire alarm systems upgraded and will be the third to have fire suppression or sprinkler systems installed, following South Quad and Fletcher. The work approved by regents also calls for a two-hour fire-rated barrier to be installed between the adjacent Michigan Union and the residence hall to provide for significantly decreased prospects of fire spreading from one facility to the other.

The five-story West Quad is the first residence hall to have a comprehensive plan that, in addition to the life safety upgrades, includes work to make it more technology-friendly. Information technology upgrades will include new wiring and high-speed network equipment. An electrical substation will be added to keep up with current and anticipated requirements for power.

The RLI calls for all residence halls to have upgraded fire alarms by summer 2007 and all to have sprinklers by 2011.

In early October, President Mary Sue Coleman announced that a new residence hall will be built at the location of the Frieze Building on Central Campus. The 500-bed residence hall will include academic space, creating a residential living community Coleman said will be unlike any other.

The RLI also calls for renovation of Mosher-Jordan, Stockwell, Barbour, Newberry and West Quad residence halls, and it includes construction of new and existing dining facilities.

"We are working as expeditiously as possible to move forward the planning on the new residence hall as well as the other projects encompassed by the RLI," says Carole Henry, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of University Housing. "The President's Residential Life and Learning Task Force is working intensively to develop the conceptual and programmatic framework that will serve to direct the architectural design of the new building."

In addition, regental approval will be sought at the November meeting for the Hill Area Dining Commons project along with architect selection. Henry further noted that the President's Task Force also is charged with developing plans for creative new uses of the residence hall spaces that will be vacated as a result of the dining project.

At the Oct. 21 meeting, regents also approved replacing elevators in Mosher Jordan and Stockwell halls. The elevator in Jordan Hall is the original from 1930. The project to replace it is scheduled to begin in summer 2005 and is anticipated to cost $670,000. The Stockwell elevator is an original in the five-story hall built in 1940. Replacing it is estimated to cost $550,000.

For more information on the RLI, visit http://www.housing.umich.edu/rli/index.html.

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