Renovations in store for Brown Hall

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The money that will be used for renovation is still to be decided how it will be used, but there are hopes for the main focus to be on the bathrooms which contain mold. 

Following two years of talk and formulating, plans to renovate Brown Hall with roughly a $7 million budget is planned to be completed by fall of 2016. The plans will involve a number of necessities for the hall and will have room for some desired resident-oriented changes.

“They’ve been talking about renovations for a couple of years now. We know that it [Brown Hall] needs to be given some TLC, so we’re finally at a point where we can do that,” Director of Residential Life Jeff Hale said.

The Board of Regents recently approved the budget for Brown Hall’s renovations – however, discussion on what exactly the money will go toward is still ongoing. 

“There needs to be substantial improvements to restroom facilities and air conditioning work as well; also, there are some infrastructure issues to be addressed,” Hale said. “We’re trying to see what we can do with our budget for student enhancement. Not a lot is set in stone, but we’re working around a budget.”

Bryan Bisson, facility operations manager, says that there is a focus for the renovation, which has needed attention for some time now. 

“The main focus will be upgrading the bathroom facilities. We have some internal building utilities that we need to upgrade including the heating and distribution systems,” Bisson said. “It will be a complete upgrade with new interior, new ventilation and etcetera. We will also look at other parts of the building within the budget that we have.”

Residents of Brown Hall agree that attention needs to be directed toward the restrooms.

“[I would like to see them] renovating the bathrooms and proper ventilations so we don’t have mold in them anymore. Other than that I like Brown Hall,” sophomore architecture major Megan Welbig said.

“There’s no space for the stalls or showers. Water just sits on the floor and goes all the way to bathroom,” nursing major Daniela Ruiz said. 

Despite the aspects that the hall lacks, both residents and Residential Life believe that Brown Hall has formed a good community because of certain characteristics.

“I like the community of Brown Hall. I think because there’s such a big lobby, it gives people a chance to meet more people. I think that the lobby makes it a friendlier atmosphere,” Welbig said. 

Residential Life believes that the renovations will contribute to the current residential community.

“I think Brown Hall students enjoy the community they form, and certainly this will make their life more comfortable, so we’re excited about getting it done and opening the door to some improvements,” Hale said.

Aside from the essential changes of the renovation, Residential Life is going to hire an architect from Miller Sellers Heroux out of Sioux Falls to meet with Brown Hall representatives and discuss student desired changes to the hall.

“What we do is we put out a request for interest, and we check if they’re qualified and after that they put up a presentation for the design portfolios from the firms and we choose whichever firm would be the best for that particular project,” Bisson said.

Among expensive upgrades such as permanent air conditioning, students are voicing their opinions for what they would like to see in Brown Hall.

“I would like to see a skywalk between floors, and more people would like an elevator so it’s handicap friendly,” Welbig said.

Plans for the renovation are not yet set in stone, but the excitement has started stirring for the halls future.