Campus Dorm Renovations Progress

By Kate Elizabeth Queram, Daily News-Record

A $6 million residence hall renovation project is under way at Eastern Mennonite University.

Renovation of Elmwood and Maplewood dorms at EMU
Environmental upgrades to both Elmwood and Maplewood dorms will modernize the building and be complete by summer 2011. (Photo by Marcy Gineris)

The project, funded through student rooming fees, will modernize Maplewood and Elmwood

residence halls, two of EMU’s oldest dorms.

Both buildings were built in 1963, says Eldon Kurtz, the university’s director of the physical plant.

The renovations will serve as a total overhaul for both buildings, Kurtz said.

“We feel like it’s more efficient to do a comprehensive renovation of the entire building when we do a renovation, rather than just address a particular concern,” he said.

Environmental upgrades

Improvements for both buildings will range from the addition of elevators and fire alarm and sprinkler systems, to new windows and larger lounges for students, Kurtz said.

The buildings also will have environmentally friendly heating and cooling systems installed, along with lighting and water fixtures, among other features, Kurtz said.

LEED certification

When renovations are finished, the university will most likely seek LEED certification for both dormitories, he said.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Certification comes from the U.S. Green Building Council and features four levels, based on the number and type of “green” related systems or designs used in the building process: Platinum, gold, silver and certified.

“I would be fairly confident that we’d be able to get silver,” Kurtz said.

Redesign of dorm quad

The renovation will also include aesthetic improvements, including a change to the buildings’ silhouettes, he said.

“We’re changing the roof line so that it has a pitched roof … so it will look like other dorms on the campus,” Kurtz said.

That includes Cedarwood, the university’s newest residence hall, which shares quad space with Elmwood and Maplewood, Kurtz said.

Cedarwood dorm at EMU
The roof lines of Elmwood and Maplewood will more closely match Cedarwood, EMU’s LEED-certified dorm that began housing students in 2009. (Photo by Marcy Gineris)

“When we’re done the intent is that those three buildings on that … quad will appear like they might have actually come from a similar era,” he said.

Work to finish by summer 2011

The first phase of the project, which began in May, is expected to be finished in December, Kurtz said.

“Our expectation is to have [Elmwood] completed about Christmas, and then the students that are in the other dorm will move over to the newly-renovated dorm,” he said. “Then we’ll start the process in [Maplewood].”

The entire project should be finished by next summer, he said.

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