Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Regents approve Couzens Hall renovation

With the approval Thursday by the Board of Regents, Couzens Hall will be the next residence hall to undergo major renovation as part of the Residential Life Initiatives (RLI).

Like the renovations of Mosher-Jordan Hall, which reopened last fall, and Stockwell Hall, to reopen this August, the Couzens project will preserve the building's traditional design while thoroughly upgrading the building's infrastructure.

Improvements will include new fire suppression, plumbing, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems, renovated bath facilities, wireless Internet access throughout and accessibility modifications.

Additionally, new community spaces for student living and learning activities will be created out of the former dining and kitchen areas. Dining services formerly located in Couzens Hall have been consolidated into the new Hill Dining Center.

“The renovation of Couzens Hall continues the vital momentum in the Residential Life Initiatives to improve the residential facilities on campus and to strengthen the connections between living and learning,” said Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper. “Input from students, faculty and staff, as well as national benchmark data for campus residential communities, were very important in informing this recommendation to the regents. We will continue to engage students and others as the vision for Couzens develops.”

The facility comprises 180,000 gross square feet, and the estimated cost of the renovation is $49 million. Funding will be provided from Housing resources and university investment proceeds. In its approval of the project, the Board of Regents also approved the commissioning of Integrated Design Solutions, based in Troy, to develop the project design. University Housing will close the facility in May 2010, to reopen for the fall 2011 term.

Predominately consisting of single- and double-occupancy rooms with a capacity of 560 students, Couzens is home to the Michigan Community Scholars Program, one of 10 residential learning communities on campus.

With a gift from James Couzens, a former U.S. senator from Michigan, Couzens Hall was completed in 1925 as a dormitory for the university’s nursing students. Operation of the facility was transferred in 1954 from the Medical Center to the Dean of Women’s office to house women enrolled in all university programs. A year later, a six-story addition complemented the original five-story brick and limestone trim building. Couzens became a coeducational residence in 1969.

The RLI is a comprehensive plan to improve and expand the residential experience at U-M. Major projects include the upgrading fire and safety systems throughout the residence halls, renovating Mosher-Jordan and Stockwell residence halls, the construction of Hill Dining Center, and the construction of the new North Quad Residential and Academic Complex, to open for fall 2010.