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Students redirected by Johnson Hall renovations

April 13, 2012

About 300 students in Johnson Hall will have to find alternate living arrangements for next year, but concerns about overcrowding are at a minimum, said an official from Residence Life.

Johnson Hall is the second largest dorm building on campus, according to the Residence Life website. The building was built in 1965 and Residence Life has announced that the building will be closed for the 2012-2013 academic year due to the need of renovations.

“The Johnson Hall bathrooms and heat system need to be renovated to make sure we are running the building as effi- ciently as possible,” said Assistant Director for Residence Life Facilities and Administrative Services Julie Phelps. “We are taking the project one step further to enhance some of the public spaces to gain better student use and be more functional.”

A new heating system will be installed that will allow for individual temperature control in each of the rooms in the building.

“There will be a complete basement remodel and new furniture, new drinking fountains, new student room mirror lights, many mechanical changes that will be behind the scenes and not necessarily noticeable to students,” Phelps said about some of the highlighted renovations that will be taking place.

Changes are being made next year for other dorm buildings on campus as well but aren’t necessarily related to the closing of Johnson Hall.

The new Jesse H. Ames Suites will be available for 240 sophomores next year, which will create open spaces throughout the other dorm buildings. Prucha Hall will no longer be an all-female dorm, which will open up more rooms for male students and the west ground fl oor of Hathorn Hall is also changing from a freshmen fl oor to multi-year fl oor as well.

With Johnson Hall closing for the next academic year, students who currently live in the dorm were classified as redirected students and were able to sign up for a new dorm building after the same hall, same room sign up phase that took place in February.

“My current roommate and I decided to move into South Forks Suites next year, we didn’t really have an issue with that part of sign up since it was before the rest of the halls,” said Angela Barilla, a junior majoring in marketing communications. “It will be a change though because I’ve lived there [Johnson Hall] for three years.”

“There are currently 296 students living in Johnson Hall,” Tracy Gerth, area coordinator on the West side of campus for Residence Life said. “Approximately 320 students can live in Johnson Hall.”

Gerth stated that Residence Life is not worried about a housing crunch for the upcoming school year even though the residence hall will be closed.

“We are opening a new residence hall that can accommodate 240 students. Additionally, our numbers are indicating that we will not be completely full for the upcoming year so we should be able to accommodate everyone that wants to live on campus despite Johnson Hall being closed for the 2012- 2013 year,” Gerth said.

According to Mike Stifter, director of Facilities Management, the renovations being made to Johnson Hall is approximately $2.9 million. The heating system and bathroom renovations are estimated to cost about $1 million each. The basement renovations and along with other added renovations are expected to cost a few hundred thousand dollars as well.

The project is expected to be completed by Summer 2013 and will reopen for the 2013-14 academic year. More renovation plans are in the works for the upcoming years as well.

“We are planning to continue similar types of projects with Prucha Hall, May Hall, and Stratton over the next four to six years,” Phelps said.