Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, February 22, 2013

Regents approve West Quad renovation, design for South Quad improvements

The Board of Regents on Thursday approved the renovation of West Quadrangle residence hall as well as the architect's design for major improvements to South Quadrangle that would create a Central Campus dining center.

Both projects are part of the Residential Life Initiatives (RLI), a planned capital program launched in 2004 to improve university housing and dining facilities and to strengthen the connection between living and learning on campus. The resulting work in South Quad and West Quad will enhance the "neighborhood" relationship between the two residence halls.

"South Quad and West Quad are important milestones in our ongoing work to improve the residential experience for current and future generations of Michigan students," said Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper. "We're very grateful for the vision of President (Mary Sue) Coleman, the ongoing support of the Board of Regents, and the input of our students to help us achieve wonderful results in campus living and learning."

West Quad, constructed in 1937, and the adjoining Michigan Union-Cambridge House accommodate approximately 1,100 students. The renovation will include infrastructure upgrades such as new plumbing, heating, cooling and ventilation systems; renovated student rooms and bath facilities; and accessibility improvements. With the creation of a Central Campus dining facility in nearby South Quad, the dining area in West Quad will be repurposed for much-needed community and study spaces for student living and learning activities.

"The renovation of West Quad enables us to revitalize one of our heritage halls for future generations," said University Housing Director Linda L. Newman. "With the expansion of dining services at South Quad, we can effectively remove redundant dining operations at West Quad and use that area to create dynamic community spaces for the residents, as we have done in renovations of the Hill neighborhood halls."

The South Quad project design was presented to the Board of Regents by the architect Smith Group JJR, based in Detroit. The new dining center will provide diverse food experiences, presented as several "micro-restaurants" around the dining area. There will be seating for 950 diners, with options for small and large groups. The new kitchen will support an expanded service operation and trayless dining.

The entrance to South Quad will be redesigned to allow better access from West Quad and the Michigan Union, and the reconfiguration of the dining area will provide uninterrupted passage from one end of the first floor to the other.

The project will renovate student bathrooms with new plumbing and fixtures, and reconfigure the internal spaces to provide more privacy. Several single use bathrooms also will accommodate Americans with Disabilities Act needs. Improvements to community spaces will include a community center with a lounge and kitchen, group study rooms and music practice rooms.

Additional infrastructure and building service upgrades will add air conditioning for the dining and community spaces, and improve the loading dock.

The South Quad improvements are projected at $60 million. The residence hall will close in May for the construction, reopening for the fall term in 2014. The estimated cost of the West Quad renovation is $114.5 million. The regents authorized commissioning Integrated Design Solutions LLC, based in Troy, for the West Quad design.

Other RLI projects have included upgraded fire alarm and suppression systems throughout the residence halls, the construction of Hill Dining Center and North Quadrangle Residential and Academic Complex. Comprehensive renovations have been completed at Mosher-Jordan, Stockwell, Couzens and Alice Lloyd halls, as well as significant upgrades to Vera Baits II Housing on North Campus. Financing of the multiyear capital program is funded through student room and board revenue and investment proceeds.

This artist's rendering shows the entrance to the renovated South Quad. The existing entrance is inset top right. (Drawing courtesy of SmithGroupJJR)