Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stockwell Hall reopens after 16-month renovation

By Peter Logan
University Housing

Generations of U-M women enjoyed the gracious, comfortable community of Stockwell Hall. After 16 months of major renovation, the distinctive residence hall is ready for the next generations of students — with new spaces and a somewhat different community.

Completed in 1940, the hall opened as a women’s residence and was named after Madelon Louisa Stockwell, the first woman admitted to the university in 1870. Based on student input and support given in 2008, Stockwell reopens this week as a residence for women and men.

“Now, with our physical renovation of Stockwell Hall and the move to make this a residence for both women and men, we are continuing our commitment to a learning environment that is rich in diversity,” President Mary Sue Coleman said Wednesday during an open house at the new hall. “Because as the students here know better than any of us, you learn as much from your classmates, roommates, and neighbors down the hall, as you do from your professors.
“This stunning conversion will make learning at Stockwell all the more exciting and interactive, with beautiful new spaces for students to study, talk, and share ideas and opinions.”

An ideal setting for returning students — with new amenities, community spaces and the prevalent number of single rooms — Stockwell will house only second-year and older students who will participate in an evolving community program focused on the Sophomore Year Experience.

“When I was considering where to live, I wanted to be a part of a community that would be a good fit for me, and the new Sophomore Year Experience program at Stockwell was exactly what I was looking for,” said Andrew Clauw, a second-year student and an officer of the Residence Halls Association.

Stockwell Hall’s Tudor Revival architecture features distinctive brick patterns, diamond-pane windows, fireplaces and paneled lounges that articulate a gracious traditional character. Those details and character remain, while the renovation has provided a contemporary residential experience to accommodate the needs of students for years to come, leaders said.

“The renovation of Stockwell Hall represents renewed commitment to the residential experience at Michigan — not only in terms of physical comforts and safety, but also in providing communities that serve current and future students,” said E. Royster Harper, vice president for student affairs. “This is a wonderful accomplishment in maintaining a heritage hall by blending old and new, reflective and forward-looking.”

The building’s infrastructure has been thoroughly upgraded: new fire detection and fire suppression systems; new plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling and ventilation; new voice and data cable and wireless high-speed network access, and accessibility improvements. Each resident floor includes two lounges, a kitchenette and renovated community bathrooms that provide more privacy.

Significant changes to Stockwell’s interior were created by enclosing an exterior courtyard under a glass skylight and opening the floor into the level below. This creates a multi-level rotunda connecting the residential, academic support, and social areas of the building.

The former dining and kitchen areas on the first floor have been converted to new meeting, learning and social spaces:

• The new Community Learning Center offers computers, printers, a copy-cam that digitally reproduces writing on a whiteboard, and a flat-screen display system. There is plenty of room for studying, including partitioned areas for small groups. Within the CLC are a residential computing office for technical support to students and a separate conference room equipped with a larger display system for teaching and collaborating.

• A study suite that includes a conference room, a series of break-out rooms and a lounge that provide quiet places for conferences and small group study.

• The Rotunda Lounge serves as a living room for relaxing, meeting and social events. This new community space includes a fully equipped kitchen and a furnished dining room.

• A laundry, two soundproof music practice rooms and public restrooms are located nearby.

The comprehensive renovation of Stockwell Hall is a major project of the university’s Residential Life Initiatives (RLI). Launched in 2004, RLI is a comprehensive, multiyear plan to revitalize and renovate student housing and to strengthen the connection between students’ learning and living experiences.

Other RLI projects include installation of new fire detection, alarms and fire suppression systems throughout the residence halls, construction of the new Hill Dining Center (opened fall 2008), the renovations of Mosher-Jordan Hall (re-opened fall 2008) and Couzens Hall (fall 2011), and the construction of the North Quadrangle Residential and Academic Complex (to open in the fall of 2010).