$13 Million to be Spent on Residence Halls
Rachel Pukall
rpuka198@uwsp.edu

The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point has just gained approval to renovate the North DeBot Residence Halls for a total cost of $13.5 million for the next two summers.

The project will renovate Watson Hall during the summer of 2014 and Thompson Hall in the summer of 2015 using funds collected from the students who live in the residence halls. Both of these halls contain 270 beds and will be the seventh and eighth halls to be renovated on campus.

“The project will be bid on and contracted as one project but each hall will be renovated one per summer,” said UWSP director of facilities planning Carl Rasmussen.

Michael Zsido and Cindy Von Gnechten, the assistant directors in Residential Living, are very excited about the opportunity to improve the living and learning environments of the halls and make them accessible to all.

“These are the most extensive renovations since the buildings were constructed in the mid 60’s,” Zsido said.

A major renewal was done back in 1993 and 1994, but it concentrated mostly on common areas only.

All of the fire alarms and voice- data wiring were upgraded, but addressable digital and synchronized alarm light technology was not available yet. The resident rooms only received new carpet, tile and paint.

Each of the halls will undergo important renovations including a fire sprinkler suppression system​throughout, ramp and patio reconstruction, window replacements with energy efficient frames and glazing, elevator installation, lighting and data upgrades a thin- coat of plaster over existing block walls, interior finish and furniture upgrades, accessibility upgrades, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design EB-Silver certification.

The front desk lobby area will also be updated as well as the lounge area.

“It is well needed and a terrific upgrade,” Rasmussen said. “Our efforts are now being followed by other UW campuses across the state with similar halls constructed in the 1960s.”

The halls will also be modified for the American Disabilities Act. 11 resident rooms on various floors will be made ADA accessible including the hall director apartments.

It will include private baths on the second and fourth floors to accommodate mobility restricted residents and guests on all floors.

The basement level bathrooms will be made fully accessible and they will be converted to private non- gender restrooms.

A 5-stop elevator will also be installed, along with an exterior ramp to the lobby level. The doors will receive a lever style handle as well.

“The renovations will improve accessibility, safety, and function,” Zsido said.

The renovation is designed to be recognized as a LEED Existing Building as outlined by the U.S. Green Building Council.

One of these landscaping designcredits will include water efficient plantings. These will be the fourth and fifth buildings at UWSP to achieve a LEED-EB design.

 “The renovation will take 95 days. Work will begin the Monday after graduation,” Rasmussen said.