J. Alvin Brown Hall, one of the University’s oldest and most cherished structures, has a future. We now know what that future will look like. Eric Gingerich, J. Alvin resident director, and Andre Broquard, director of residence life, unveiled finalized renovation plans to a group of current residents on Thursday night.
The final plans include improvements that were already revealed in December, such as larger average room size, the moving of all bathrooms to interior walls, and all new plumbing and wiring. The information new to residents included plans for a kitchenette and the extension of the dorm’s current ‘penthouse’ (made up of Suites 30 and 39 above the lobby) to include space currently occupied by walkways.
The indoor bike racks may also be replaced with a TV lounge and computer room. The current locations of both will be displaced by expanded halls and a relocated resident director apartment.
Finalized floor-plans shown to residents included larger, more hall-like suites, larger common areas and additional emergency exits. The new renderings did show that the new hallways and suites will be mostly drywall, replacing a mostly cinder block construction. Also, some of J. Alvin’s iconic brick walls will be covered in drywall on interior walls in the atrium.
The ends of J. Alvin’s front lobby will be converted into an apartment for housing resident directors and an extension to the south hallway on the second floor, creating a sort of sub-suite separated from the south hall by a small set of stairs.
Starting next semester, J. Alvin’s capacity will be cut in half as construction crews work on one wing at a time. After completing demolition and reconstruction of the first wing during the fall semester, the residents will move into the new wing for spring semester while the process is repeated on the second wing.
The University has not finalized plans for choosing who gets to stay in a reduced-capacity dorm during construction. Broquard suggested that J. Alvin may have a different process for room draw than other on-campus housing due to high demand and a desire to have a higher upperclassmen presence in the building during the renovation process.
Also discussed was the possibility of residents contributing financially to the project, a desire of the anonymous donor who is paying $3 million of the estimated $5 million cost of the project. Students will have opportunities to donate near the end of the semester.