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Residence halls update furniture, save money

February 28, 2008

Students living in Johnson, Prucha, May, Hathorn West and Crabtree Halls are saving roughly $100 a year, thanks to updated furniture in those buildings.

Since 2005 the University has been gradually working on replacing outdated beds, dressers, desks and, in some cases, free-standing wardrobes in the dormitories.

The new furniture allows residents to save money by having beds able to be lofted already in the room, rather than having to rent a metal loft from bedloft.com.

“We wanted to give students the best options available,” area coordinator Jason Neuhaus said.

Before the project began, the University invited vendors to set up displays in the basement of Stratton Hall for students to view and vote on. The new room set selected was the one students voted in.

“Right from the start it’s been student-initiated,” Larry Testa, budget director for student affairs, said.

Students are happy with the new furniture.

“It gives the room a nice cozy feeling instead of the jail cell that it is,” freshman Nate Filipiak said.

“I like that we can move [the furniture] around and rearrange our rooms,” freshman Breanna Wessberg said.

Rod Hillskotte, a freshman in Grimm Hall, doesn’t mind that his furniture is outdated.

“It works-looks like crap, but it gets the job done,” he said.

Wessberg is trying to decide which hall to live in next year. Her first consideration is whether or not a hall has been updated, she said.

Hillskotte doesn’t plan to request a hall with updated furniture for next year, but he is happy to see the renovations done.

“It’s nice to see our fees going to something we can use,” he said.

The average cost per room is $2,000, according to Testa. There are an estimated 1,200 rooms to be refurnished.

Students will not see any increase in fees, however. All costs for the project come from excess monies saved from room rates over the past years.

Students haven’t even seen an increase in room rates, according to Sandi Scott-Deux, director of residence life. A rate increase of 3.7 percent has been proposed for next year, which is below the state threshold for the UW system rate increase.

McMillan, Parker and Hathorn East Halls will be updated this summer, and Grimm, Hathorn Center and Stratton Halls will be updated by the end of summer 2010.