Eyesore, no more: construction has begun on a $32.5 million project to renovate the 44-year-old Residence Tower, which has been home to more than 20,000 students since opening in 1972.
The project will completely reconstruct the 100,000 gross square foot building from the inside out. The two lower levels will be transformed into community space, with a large kitchen, a game room and common areas in a loft-like setting overlooking the building’s main entrance. The area will also boast study lounges, a conference room and a laundry room. The building’s first-floor deck will be enclosed to provide additional space for the area.
The upper floors will be fully renovated with new bathrooms and room layouts, as well as enclosed study spaces and open community lounges on every floor. Student rooms will be a mix of double and single occupancy in a quad format. The building is not expected to have triples.
We want to make living in the Residence Tower not just convenient, but compelling,” said Director of Construction Services Scott Guckert. “With natural lighting, an atrium-style lobby and expanded community areas, this renovation will make the building better suited to the way students live and learn.”
The exterior of the building will get also get a facelift. The existing concrete façade will be covered with large architectural panels in various brick tones consistent with the College of Liberal Arts building and the overall campus aesthetic. New windows and glass will make the rooms brighter and the building more interactive with the campus landscape. New elevators and stairwells will be installed, including a larger elevator that will better accommodate student move-in.
“The Residence Tower’s 440 beds makes up a significant portion of campus housing,” said Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Bonnie Candia-Bailey. “The renovation will keep this housing option available to the same number of students, but in an updated facility that better reflects our vibrant campus community.”
The project will incorporate a variety of sustainable design components, including the installation of all-new, high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and a new enclosed recycling chute alongside the existing trash chute. The project is expected to achieve LEED silver certification.
The renovation will begin in October 2016 and is expected to be complete for spring 2018. Parking and pedestrian impacts should be minimal, and both Towsontown Garage and lot 6 will remain open for the duration of construction.
Written by Pamela Gorsuch