By Dane Chronister
The third residence hall in a recent series of renovations, Penland Residence Hall, will close for improvements in May. In June, there will be a demolition process after the halls are cleared, and Penland will reopen next spring.
“We are looking at various options for the whole premise of all the residence halls,” said Brian Nicholson, vice president for facilities and operations. “We are kind of following the same model of North Russell.”
The project is currently being budgeted by The Beck Group for $19 million, but is still waiting approval from the Board of Regents.
Even though the renovations will be occurring in the Penland hall, the dining hall will still be intact and accessible to students for use throughout the construction process.
Penland Residence Hall opened in 1960 with space for 562 students. George Harvey Penland, an alumnus for whom the building was named, was a benefactor to the university and a member of the Board of Trustees.
Nicholson said there will be some changes to the rooms, but overall, they will keep a similar layout.
“We’ll maybe shape it up a little bit, but we will try to maintain no more than a 15 percent loss of beds in each residence hall renovation,” Nicholson said. He also said they will try to increase the community space in the residence halls.
Nicholson said over the next eight years, the department will focus on renovations for individual residence halls.
Nicholson said anything that wasn’t built within the last decade, will be renovated in the years to come. Residence halls that will be altered include Alexander, Allen, Dawson, Kokernot, Martin and Memorial.
KSQ Architecture, the same company that helped with South Russell Hall renovations, will be in charge of the plans. The contractor will be The Beck Group, which helped complete the North Village Residential Community. The upgrades for the halls will include basic room modifications, which will increase the rooms’ functional capabilities and give them a more modern feel.
“In the majority of the halls we will keep the same basic style. If they have community or shared bathrooms they will continue to have shared bathroom. It’s primarily to finish upgrades,” Nicholson said.
While rumors have surfaced on campus that Penland may become a co-ed dormitory, no source confimed this as legitimite. But it has not been ruled as unimaginable.