Smart renovation strategies for residence halls

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Updating your residence hall doesn’t always require new construction

New student life buildings are fresh, exciting, and usually expensive. With the right plan, it’s both possible and economical to get the 21st-century building you want with the stock you currently have. All you need is space, a vision, and strategies to stay on budget.

In this episode of Treanor Talks, we catch up with Joe Stramberg, a principal in Treanor’s Higher Education studio, along with Cass Coughlin, the Director of Residential Life Administration at Emporia State University and Teresa Frederick, the Associate Director of Facilities Management at Missouri State University. We talk about cost control strategies and some interesting project history and fun facts along the way.

Listen to the story your building is telling you

Students want and need modern amenities to support their living and learning styles, but they also want to make memories during their stay at campus residence halls. Years later, we want them to tell stories about their memories in college, and it’s our goal to help make sure those memories are fond ones nurtured by the design of the spaces they use.

“We were really focused on student experience,” says Teresa of the Woods House project, “and we were experiencing a lot of enrollment growth.”

“We not only needed beds, but we needed attractive beds for our students. And it wasn’t quite the right time for us to build.”

Teresa Frederick, Associate Director of Facilities Management, Missouri State University

“The Abigail Morse project was the final piece of a 10-year housing master plan,” said Cass Coughlin of the Abigail Morse Hall renovation project. “Between the financial wisdom of renovating Abigail, the need to renovate it to have the number of beds we needed, and then the historical significance . . . It was that combination of factors that led to the project.”

If students vote with their feet, where do you want them to go?

Cass mentions during the episode that if students are voting with their feet, Abigail Morse Hall is happily a place on campus where demand outweighs supply.

“Each student is interacting with that building and the architecture in a different way,” says Cass. “There’s some commonalities, but everybody has their own little favorite piece of it—they love the natural light in the corridors, or the view out of their room, or the kitchen.”

For Teresa, Woods House has gone from a forgotten building to a tour highlight for incoming residents.

“I love to see that we’ve changed the student experience, but also in how we’ve talking about Woods to our prospective students,” says Teresa. “Now it’s one of the first places we go.”

Listen to the full podcast episode to learn more about these unique projects on two university campuses with different student bodies, needs, campus contexts, and resulting renovation strategies that will support students for years to come.

Voices in this episode

Joseph Stramberg

Principal, Specialty Leader

Megan Cooper

Communications Manager

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