The University of Wisconsin’s Witte Residence Hall is scheduled for $47 million in renovations starting in spring 2017, which will include another floor, structural additions and air conditioning.
Witte, which was built in the early 1960s, will require improvements to meet current university residence hall standards, Gary Brown, UW director of Campus Planning and Landscape Architecture, said. The renovations to Witte, as well as other residence halls, are part of the Campus Master Plan to improve and update campus.
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Witte’s renovations include new shower and restroom facilities, expanded elevators, remodeled first floor common spaces and the addition of heating and air conditioning pipes. Each student will have a control for heating and air conditioning in their own rooms, Brown said.
An 11th floor, which would add 108 beds, will also be added to Witte if the plans gain approval from the city, Brown said.
Another addition would connect Witte’s two towers with a central core structure in the middle, if it gains city approval. Brown said this is the biggest part of the project because it will give students faster elevators and a place to socialize and study.
“The largest piece of the project is a central core addition off of the southeast side of the building to include new lounge spaces and elevators,” Brown said.
Due to air conditioning and other new amenities, the rooms at Witte will be more expensive, Brendon Dybdahl, UW Housing spokesperson, said. The room rates are expected to be comparable to the recently renovated Chadbourne Residence Hall, though nothing has been finalized yet, he said. The rates will not impact students for a few years, he added.
Though post-construction Witte will feature 1,262 beds compared with its current 1,154, Brown said the future removal of the Zoe Bayliss Women’s Cooperative and Davis Residence Hall will cancel any campus-wide increase in rooms. In their place, a new academic building will be constructed south of Grainger Hall, Brown said.
Witte’s backyard will also get revamped to include a new loading and service drop-off space, extra parking needed for moving days, new volleyball courts as well as new benches and picnic tables for student use, Brown said.
The $47 million Witte renovations will be paid for with Housing Program Revenue, which receives its funds from residence hall fees and income from campus dining halls, Brown said.
The project was included in the 2013-15 UW System and State of Wisconsin Capital Budget, which is responsible for evaluating institutional requests from all UW System schools.
Dybdahl said the city has not yet reviewed the renovations plan. The Urban Design commission will review the plan in late June, followed by the City Planning Commission in July and the State Building Commission in August, he said.
“I can’t speak to the likelihood of the committees approving the plan, but I think we have everything we need to support what we are doing,” Dybdahl said.
Witte’s renovations are scheduled to start in April 2017 and finish in August 2019, according to a letter of intent filed May 11. Sellery Residence Hall is next up for renovations. The project will begin after Witte is finished, according to the letter.
Currently, Lakeshore dorms Elizabeth Waters Hall and Kronshage Hall are also undergoing renovations and will be completed this summer, Brown said.
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This post has been updated.