Architect: Mead & Hunt
Owner: State of Wisconsin - Division of Facilities Development and UW Whitewater
Contractor: Miron Construction Co., Inc.
This project began as a master plan to renovate six 1960s-era residence halls clustered together on the west side of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater campus. The planning goals were to provide an updated image for all six halls, and incorporate key components of the campus mission for Universal Design, thus exceeding basic ADA guidelines. The pre-design study provided a detailed physical assessment of all six buildings. The intention was to then bring two of the six forward as the first phase of a renovation/addition project. Instead of the typical single addition to each building that had been done in prior residence hall renovations, the solution constructed a “Link” building between two existing buildings, The building link solution provided numerous benefits: offering more social spaces, elevator redundancy, a defined front entry offering secure access, consolidating front desk services, added 40 new beds, and, most importantly, allowed access for all students to visit and live on all floors.
This project renovated Arey & Fricker Residence halls. Both are a four-story plus basement, (28,359/47,733 ASF/GSF) residence hall constructed in 1963 and 1964. The project adds 19,835 GSF to connect the two halls and provide program space. The project renovated existing rooms, renewed building finishes, replaced windows and exterior doors, enlarged and reconfigured restrooms, addressed deferred maintenance, replaced the roofs, addressed health and safety code compliance issues, replaced MEP systems, provided standby power and added fire sprinklers throughout.
The design team’s approach to implementing both the initial study and the design process was critical to achieving the goals and objectives of the university and the team’s design solutions. Using a highly transparent process allowed for input and discussion from various project stakeholders. These stakeholders included UW-Whitewater residence hall directors, students with disabilities, resident life administration, current students, recent alumni, campus planning and facilities managers, with the University of Wisconsin System representatives and State of Wisconsin Division of Facilities Development (DFD) project managers.
To meet DFD’s long, life-cycle requirements, the Link building’s exterior envelope is a CMU rain-screen construction. The skin then offers complimentary materials of metal panels, cast stone and curtain walls to distinguish new areas from the adjoining, existing brick masonry buildings. Dark bronze windows, roof caps, and metal panels on the “Link” match similar components on the existing buildings to tie the three areas together. Dark bronze canopies distinguish the entries and provide covered outdoor gathering areas.
The challenges of this project were meeting the expectations of universal design, current code and modern amenities of a new residence hall while also aligning with the existing building constraints and a 7’- 8 5/8” floor-to-ceiling height. All new mechanical, plumbing, and technology systems were carefully coordinated to distribute horizontally in the lower level ceiling, where the headroom was less constrained, and then run vertically to each of the floors with repetitive floor plans. Electrical routing was then weaved horizontally through the floors. Early design BIM modeling and intense field-constructed mock-ups were used to provide successful, accelerated installations.
Interior spaces were upgraded with bright pops of color, “sweater-y” carpet textures, bold tile accent walls and integrated door-frame marker-boards at each resident room. Dark bronze metals, door frames and window frames tie the historic, mid-century modern vocabularies to the new. Open, group shower areas were replaced with private stalls and changing areas. The lower levels were transformed to trendy areas for students to hang out, with an open game room and kitchen, semi-quiet and quiet study areas, laundry and vending rooms, a multipurpose room and a computer lab.
The design team also took special care to provide additional Universal Design features at the interior. These features include ADA residence rooms on all floors, a double ADA residence room, so students in wheelchairs can have roommates, a private, accessible toilet/shower room on each floor, swing-clear hinge replacements on existing residence room door frames and ADA compliant operable windows for all rooms.
Photos: Image Studios, Inc.