Fischer Hall shutting down for 2011-12 academic year

The next few years will mark drastic changes in on-campus housing as Fischer Hall is planned to go offline for renovations throughout the 2011-2012 academic year, Director of University Housing Frank Bartlett said.

Bartlett

Wellers Hall is also planned to close for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Bartlett said many of the renovations will make the building more accessible, such as a new ground-level entrance, the installation of an elevator, replacing and widening doorways, the installation of automatic door openers and an addition for a more accessible bathroom.

Along with accessibility issues being addressed, air conditioning will be installed in the lounges and basement, the heating units will be replaced so students have more control, flooring will be replaced and walls will be painted.

Bigelow and Benson Halls have been approved for renovation the following two years.

“All of our residences halls need to be renovated,” Bartlett said. “They’re 1960s generation buildings and they need the infrastructure updated.”

Bartlett said the renovations will always have an impact on room rates for students but it has alleviated other costs for renovation.

“It definitely was cheaper to build them than it [is] to renovate them,” Bartlett said.

To accommodate for the closure of the dorms, the university is leasing housing in the Cambridge and Fox Meadows apartment complexes.

About 300 bed spaces have been reserved off-campus, Bartlett said.

Applications for Starin Hall, the newest residence hall, were down this year compared to last, but Bartlett said they still had to turn some people away.

“There’s always more people that want to live in Starin [Hall] than you have spaces for,” Bartlett said. “But when it was totally new, we had like 700 additional people that wanted to live there than we had spaces … Anytime you get beyond year one, things are ‘what have you done for me lately?’”

With enrollment increasing in recent years at UW-Whitewater, Bartlett said they are discussing when it will be appropriate to take a building offline in their residence life master plan review in case the building will be needed for students on campus.

Bartlett said the amount of students who have indicated a need for housing next fall is less than last year, so lounges will not be used to house students.

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