Students Give Renovated Dorms Thumbs Up

Returning students moving into Erdman, Wylie, and Bell-Young residence halls this week were thrilled to find the buildings had been completely renovated.

Each has new energy-efficient heating, cooling, electrical and lighting systems, water-saving plumbing, a new roof, new paint inside and out, new floor coverings and furniture, and new landscaping.

All three halls—built in 1927, 1940, and 1956, respectively—also were seismically strengthened and modified for handicapped accessibility, all while using sustainable measures and maintaining the historic fabric of the original Myron Hunt designs. Total cost of the on-time, on-budget project approached $18 million.

After nine months of work, construction crews rushed to finish the halls in time and were still tweaking little details by the time students arrived on campus—but the new residents seemed unfazed by the stray carpet staple and missing outlet cover.

"Everything’s perfect. Everyone else is jealous," said Kevin Hom ’12 of his room in Bell-Young. "Everything’s clean and new. I like how big the rooms are, and how they put a refrigerator and microwave in every room."

 Student and his belongings on move-in day at Rangeview"I love the shower. There’s water pressure!" enthused Isabel Ying ’11, who had just moved into Wylie. "I also really like the new linoleum floors—they’re easy to keep clean."

Wylie’s common room sports a new flat-screen TV and new furniture upholstered in blue. "I like the colors, and the landscaping," said Henry Boule ’10. "The bathrooms are great," chimed in his roommate Mark Paulsen ’10.

Although many of the changes can’t be seen, Erdman underwent the greatest transformation. Exterior walls were taken down to the studs and new insulation added before the building was restuccoed. The new carpet and furniture are in a rust, brown, and forest green palette, but the roof tiles, windows, wooden floors, decorative iron work, moldings and other details are all original.

"We thought it looked very nice when we came in. The air conditioning is wonderful," said Chloe Jenkins ’10. But she and her roommate Alyssa Escalante ’10 shared one quibble: "We’re pretty happy with it, although the furniture’s almost too big for the room. But the dressers are nice," Alyssa said of the black marble-topped pieces.

"It’s clean and it smells good. The old Erdman was kind of notorious for being smelly," said Daniel Minguez ’09, who lived in Rangeview last year. He prefers the new Erdman. "In Rangeview, you couldn’t put things on the wall. This is a lot warmer. Here the RA’s have already put things on the walls. It already feels more homey."

Or, as a passing student described it: "It’s so much more happy-feeling than the old Erdman."

And much cooler.