The Butterfield Colleges are in for a facelift before the newest wave of freshmen hit campus next semester. If approved by the Board of Trustees on Feb. 24, construction on the 30,000 square-foot former home of the College of Letters (COL) and the Career Center (CC) will start in March.
According to Associate Vice President for Facilities Joyce Topshe, the project will cost $5.6 million and add housing for 92 students. The additional dormitory space is part of a larger plan to increase the student population by 120 undergrads, which the University has been pursuing by increasing acceptances by 30 students each year for the past three years. This goal will be accomplished with the admittance of the class of 2016, and the construction in the Butterfields will help to alleviate the increase in triples in other dorms.
According to Director of Residential Life (ResLife) Fran Koerting, the project is intended to foster community in the Butterfields and combat the dormitory’s reputation among students as not very social. Hallways that currently serve as covered walkways will be converted into new common areas, and each building will have its own laundry, kitchen, lounge, and game room.
Koerting stressed, however, that attempts will be made to maintain the dorm’s unique personality.
“It will fit with the rest of the character of the Butterfields,” she said. “We don’t want to create another Fauver.”
President Michael Roth said he recently visited the site and was optimistic about the upcoming renovations.
“[It will entail] large-scale reconfiguration of lounges and rooms and brightening up places that are pretty dark and adding things that student life folks have thought would make a more hospitable environment,” he said. “Over the break we went on a walkthrough of all the spaces and the plans are very exciting. We have specs that have been offices for a long time in COL and CRC, so there’s a lot to do.”
ResLife began meeting with students in 2011 to discuss the reconstruction of the Butterfields. A student committee initially suggested additions such as a new computer lab, gym space, and a music practice room.
The space will be used to house 83 freshmen, six sophomores, and three resident advisors. These students will be distributed over 20 new singles, 24 new doubles, and eight new triples. However, unlike those in Fauver this year, these new triples are designed to house three students, for they consist of a spacious 300 square feet.
Although the larger corner rooms in Clark will remain triples, Koerting is optimistic that Fauver may never house more than two in a room again.
According to the project goals, air conditioning will be retained and extended where possible. The project plans also keep a focus on sustainability, aiming to meet or exceed LEED silver standards. If passed, the project will be completed by the end of this summer.