Campus Life and Residence Life Committee is killing two very old birds with one stone with Lawrence’s new renovation project. Colman Hall, built in 1957, is being drastically renovated to accommodate the needs of a campus that will soon be without small group houses.
These houses are those on Union Street and Boldt Way that have been deemed unlivable.
“[The small group houses] just don’t have the proper use permits for unrelated people living together,” begins Nancy Truesdell, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
Renovations of these houses would be expensive and Campus Life believes would “ruin the character of the houses.”
Despite the change of usage, small group houses will not be torn down.
“We are still planning,” continues Truesdell.
Planning for the Colman renovations, however, is well underway. Campus Life prides itself on the student input involved in these affairs.
“First of all, there’s been a history here of involving students in the planning of projects for building that most directly affect them,” said Truesdell.
This includes picking out furniture in Warch to giving feedback on Lawrence’s first suites in Hiett many years ago.
“Students have been involved wherever they can [in this Colman project],” continued Truesdell. “They interviewed architectural candidates and they are the ones that settled on Marble Fairbank from New York.”
Marble Fairbanks’ assignment was to use what students liked most about group living—a kitchen and shared lounging space—and create a new way living like this on campus, in Colman.
“Since group style housing is what students enjoy, we are introducing loft style housing in Colman,” begins Rose Wasielewski, Assistant Dean of Students for Campus Life.
This includes four loft style suites in Colman: an eight person style, 14 person style, 12 person style and 15 person style.
These renovations will be done on the south end of the Colman building and will include a large skylight coming down to bring light to the area.
“The enhancements will benefit all the residents of Colman, not just the ones living in group housing,” said Amy Uecke, Associate Dean of Students for Campus Life.
Renovations also include upgraded laundry units, new bathrooms, upgrading the RLA desk and lobby area, increasing more natural light in the building, more effectively using the basement space to include program spaces and movie theater-style area.
Despite these enhancements, students still worry about the loss of the small houses. These houses were venues where students could practice and share music. Current renovations do not accommodawte those needs as well as the previous living conditions have.
Residence Life Committee members stress that students “should approach [these renovations] from a different perspective since there is no way to recreate the current group houses.”
Colman will not available for student housing this summer but will remain an active dorm during the 2015 school year. Renovations will be completed in Oct. of 2016.