West side residence hall renovations proposed

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Plans to connect five of six residence halls presented to Whitewater Student Government:

A proposal to renovate dorms on the west side of campus was presented to Whitewater Student Government Oct. 1.

If approved, dorm renovations will connect Fricker, Arey and Benson halls as well as Bigelow and Lee.

Frank Bartlett, director of Residence Life, said the construction would physically connect the dorms in a similar style to Starin Hall. Clem would be the only dorm without a connection because of its distance from the other residence halls.

The graphic above shows the proposed floor plans connecting several halls on campus. It was presented to WSG by Frank Barlett, director of Residence Life. If approved, Fricker, Arey and Benson Halls as well as Bigelow and Lee would be connected.

“Connecting the buildings would allow for us to have continuous communities,” Bartlett said.

If approved, each building will cost approximately $12.2 million to renovate.

Internally, the resident halls will be renovated with new paint, carpeting and furniture.  Basements will have open kitchens, expanded study areas, assisted restrooms and larger multi-purpose rooms.

All floors will receive new bathrooms, electric, plumbing, windows and, potentially, thermostats in each room.

Bartlett said the links between buildings could be where front desk and staff offices will be relocated and additional gathering spaces and elevators will be added near the bridges.

“This means for students with disabilities there would be a sense of redundancy with elevators,” Bartlett said.

First floors will be reconfigured to increase the number of beds available.

“I think that the renovations they’re planning for the west side of campus have been given a lot of thought and have definitely been made with students in mind,” WSG President John Jensen said.

WSG Vice President Danielle Jordan said she thinks the dorm renovations will draw more students to UW-Whitewater.

Bartlett also mentioned that Wellers Hall, which is currently under construction, would be reopening for summer of 2013.