McCormick Road dorms to see massive renovation project

Residence halls to see new utilities, lounges, laundry rooms

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Renovations to the McCormick Road dormitories are set to begin next summer. The Board of Visitors approved the $105 million project at their June meeting and will outline it in further detail at the Board’s meeting this Thursday.

The University plans to conduct what is known as a “full MEP” on the McCormick Road residence halls — a complete renovation of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing utilities in the buildings. Changes will include the addition of air conditioning and elevators, and the ground floor of each building — currently used for University offices in some cases — will be turned into study lounges, main lounges and laundry rooms.

“We’re basically going back down to the substrate and we’re putting it all back together,” said Trish Romer, Housing and Residence Life’s director of business and facilities services.

Though the McCormick Road dorms are fully functional and currently house a significant portion of the first-year student population, these renovations are seen as a necessary upgrade.

“The remaining original building systems are serviceable, but outdated and less efficient than modern systems,” the Board said in this week’s agenda for the Board’s Building and Grounds Committee meeting. “Approaching 70 years old, they are beyond their typical useful service life.”

Prior to the approval of this plan, previous suggestions included full demolition of the existing buildings, renovations and the addition of a fifth story on each building, and small additions to four of the existing buildings.

“It was determined that the best option would be the renovation and renewal of existing structures,” the agenda read. “The renewal and renovation project will yield 61 new beds, for a total of 1,391 beds and extend the life of the facilities.”

The renovations will also promote the Sustainability Resolution approved by the Board in 2011, which commits to reducing the carbon and nitrogen footprint of the University.

The project is expected to commence with utility work around the McCormick Road dorm area in 2015, to fully begin during the summer of 2017 and continue in phases until the end of the 2020-21 academic year. The 10 houses in the McCormick Road dorm area will be taken offline in groups of two or three at a time for a period of one year.

Several other residence hall construction projects will be completed before the McCormick Road residence hall renovations begin. Construction on “Building Six,” the newest dorm being constructed in the Alderman Road area, and renovations in Gooch-Dillard will be complete before breaking ground on the renovations in McCormick Road dorm buildings. Courtenay, Dunglison and Fitzhugh will be used for additional living spaces.

“[The completed renovations] allow us to use Courtenay, Dunglison, and Fitzhugh as swing space,” Romer said. “Those three buildings are allowing us to take portions of McCormick Road offline.”

Following the completion of the McCormick Road dorm renovations, the University hopes to begin additional construction in the Alderman Road dorm area.

“Our plan after we finish McCormick Road is to take down or demolish Courtenay, Dunglison, and Fitzhugh,” Romer said. “Their locations are future building sites for two more buildings in the Alderman Road area.”

Incoming class sizes will not be affected by the renovation initiative.

“We will still be able to have the first year class enrollment as projected at this point,” Romer said.

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