To the Editor,
With reference to your editorial “Prioritize Student Housing” on Jan. 13, I thought it might be helpful to provide some background on the University’s work on student housing and the processes by which we plan for projects and allocate resources.
You correctly note several improvements in student housing in recent years, and I appreciated the feedback from students on the most recent work in Colman Hall. A number of projects have been completed in the last seven years as we work to improve our campus living infrastructure:
* Colman Hall – Colman Lofts and Common Spaces, and earlier bathroom remodels and renovations in the north and Panhellenic wings
* Ormsby Hall – Lounge and first floor bathroom renovations from donor funds, with further floors to follow, thanks to ongoing donor support for the Hall
* Sage Hall – One floor of bathroom remodels completed, with additional floors to be phased over future summers
* Plantz Hall – Bathroom renovations
* Trever Hall – Bathroom renovations
* Phased renovations of Quad bathrooms in conjunction with updated fire safety and technology upgrades
Lawrence will soon complete the required phase-out of several small houses as student residences based on long-term accessibility and sustainability concerns. While these residences contain fully inspected fire suppression systems and are monitored for other issues, their cosmetic condition reflects the age of the buildings as well as the limited-term use of these houses.
The Lawrence community is grateful for the generous gift that has created the endowed position held by Linda Morgan-Clement – the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life. That gift also provided for the creation of a center for the new dean, which funded the renovations in Sabin House. Dean Morgan–Clement is looking forward to welcoming the campus community into the new center when it opens this term.
It may also be worthy to note that neither Sampson House nor Raymond House have had any significant renovation investment in the last decade.
The allocation of the University’s operating funds for capital projects, including student housing improvements, is approved each year by our Board of Trustees. Those allocations are recommended to the board by the administration and the Physical Planning Committee, which is part of Lawrence’s shared governance structure. The committee consists of faculty, staff and students who meet regularly to discuss the physical infrastructure of the campus and to prioritize the many needs for upgrades, renovations and safety systems that allow for modest but continual improvement in our living and learning environment.
I would welcome any conversations with LUCC or other student groups who have input or concerns and certainly welcome any individual communication either via email or by visiting my office in Brokaw Hall 117.
Vice President for Finance and Administration