Residence hall construction affects students
When Miles Sutphen first became a Spartan in fall 2011, his residency in Campbell Hall was exactly what he expected it to be — cramped, with older dorms, full-service cafeterias and an array of excited students.
But as the economics sophomore prepares to return to the residence hall this fall, his expectations are a bit higher, with the renovation of the Union into an engagement center that could serve north campus, across the street from his residence hall.
The Union renovation is just one of the many construction projects in the works this summer that will impact residence life on campus, both for students living in East Lansing this summer and those students who will be coming to campus in the fall.
Bryan Hall and Armstrong Hall were closed in May for renovation, and Bailey Hall and Rather Hall, which currently are closed, will open for incoming residents in August, Paul Manson, assistant director for Residential and Hospitality Services said in an email. Shaw Hall also is undergoing culinary renovations scheduled to be completed in January 2013, but he said the residence hall still will be open for housing.
“The opening of the two halls and the closing of the other two halls will leave us with the same number of halls open as we did during the 2011-12 academic year,” Manson said.
This summer, Holmes, Case, Wilson and Owen Halls have student rooms, which are designated as accessible for living, in addition to a few other halls, which are being utilized by the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, Manson said.
Although the university’s construction likely will have minimal disadvantages, Assistant Vice
President for Residential and Hospitality Services Vennie Gore said one construction project that could have had the potential to be disruptive to students was the construction on the cafeteria in Shaw Hall.
“We’re offering a temporary dining location for the folks in Shaw Hall, and we’re also offering more combo exchanges, so when they’re out and about they can get more access for food in the fall semester,” Gore said. “That worked very well when we had that at Case (Hall).”
Tony Frewen, chief marketing communication officer for Residential and Hospitality Services, said the opening of engagement centers in McDonel Hall to serve the River Trail Neighborhood and the Union to serve West Circle, will contribute to the success of students through the neighborhood concept.
“MSU’s neighborhood model is driving much of what is being done in the residence halls,” he said. “It is a model in which students — especially in the first two years — have access to the services and support, right where they live, that will give them the best chance at success.”
As for Sutphen, one of the things he said he enjoys about living on campus is his neighborhood.
“I like the neighborhood, but the fact that it was really old was a downfall compared to other places,” he said. “I do like that they’re renovating it and trying to fix it up a little bit.”