All three of the Butterfield dorms, more widely known by their nickname “The Butts,” underwent a renovation this summer in an effort by the University to create more student living space. Classrooms and offices that previously housed the Career Center, the College of Letters, and the College of Social Studies were transformed into spaces for 93 University freshmen and sophomores, which raises the total number of students housed in the Butterfields to approximately 500.
The Butterfields have been available as residential dorms for underclassmen since their construction in 1965; however, their remoteness from the central part of campus, in addition to their older architecture, meant that they were commonly perceived as a less popular housing option on campus. The 166,000 gross square feet in three masonry and steel buildings were connected by tunnels (both above-ground and underground), and the three sections were home to a combined 408 students. Although each Butterfield dorm had its own lounge area, Butterfield B contained the only kitchen and laundry room in the Butterfield complex.
“The intent [of the renovation] was to create another all-freshmen environment, in addition to Bennet and Clark,” wrote Director of Residential Life Fran Koerting in an email to The Argus.
Construction began in May after the Career Center and the College of Letters left the Butterfields to move to 41 Wyllys in January. Led by project manager Robert Schmit, the old classrooms and lounge areas were transformed into a new Copenhagen (a housing option of four singles and a double available for sophomores) as well as a variety of single, double, and triple rooms for freshmen.
Koerting explained that in addition to the large number of new beds, the loggias (walk throughs) were turned into new common areas. Butterfields A, B, and C now each have their own kitchen, laundry room, social space, game room, and two study rooms. The dorm’s exterior also received new window trim.
“Separate from this project, the fire alarm system in Butterfield C was upgraded to a fully addressable system, and the corridors received new carpeting,” Koerting wrote. “This was the third phase of this project, with Butterfield A and B being completed in previous years.”
Giselle Torres ’16 arrived from Ecuador early for international student orientation and moved into her single room in the Butterfields this past Sunday. While she admitted she didn’t know what the Butterfields were like before, she had no complaints about the dorm.
“[The dorms] are wonderful,” she said. “The bedrooms are much better organized, and showers have their own changing rooms.”
Torres added that though most of the freshmen hadn’t moved in, she’d already seen many international students around the dorm.
In an email to The Argus, Associate Vice President for Facilities Joyce Topshe said the construction is substantially complete. She noted that the new rooms come with air conditioning, as they are utilizing existing chillers that cooled the previous classrooms and office spaces. A two bedroom apartment was also constructed for an existing member of the ResLife staff.
Brittany Manobianco ’13, who lived in the Butterfield dorms for her first two years of college, said that while there was often a strong sense of community in the Butterfields dorms, she ultimately found the dorms to be isolating during her freshman year, and she was happy to hear about the renovation.
“Perhaps the renovations will work to make the Butts more communal and more similar overall to the current all-freshmen dorms,” she said.