UWO Fletcher Hall renovations set to begin June 2016

Holly Lynaugh

Renovations on Fletcher Residence Hall are scheduled to begin this June after several years of planning. The renovation project, which was approved by the state building commission last summer, is set to add extra bedrooms, an elevator and lounge areas to the freshman residence hall. Christine Miles, senior project manager in the planning and construction department, said the renovation should be fully completed in about a year. “Construction should start in June and will be finished by mid-July 2017, so it is ready for the fall 2017 semester,” Miles said. Miles said Fletcher Hall, built in 1964, has been well maintained over the years but is at the point where some things need replacing. “It is a very structurally sound building and has many years of usage left in it, so investing in rejuvenating it makes financial sense,” Miles said. Miles said Fletcher Hall will eventually have a ramped entrance on the Evans/Stewart side which will allow for easy access to bike storage rooms and the existing dumpster building. A four-story addition to the front of the building will include a lobby area at ground level, along with student rooms and lounges on the second through fourth floors. “The finished rooms will be very similar to how the Taylor Hall rooms are arranged,” Miles said. Director of Residence Life Tom Fojtik said a larger number of students will be assigned to South Gruenhagen, South Scott and Stewart Hall during the renovation. He said Fletcher Hall was chosen after Taylor Hall in a long-term plan to renovate older buildings on campus. “Fletcher is showing its age, and we believe it is best to renovate a larger building now so we can provide more renovated spaces for students, primarily sophomores and juniors,” Fojtik said. “Our plan is to complete the Fletcher project, then move on to Evans and Stewart, which we would do at the same time.” Miles said windows, doors and internal systems will be updated to provide another 40-50 years of usage with regular maintenance. “The entire building will receive a face-lift inside and out,” Miles said. “All interior spaces will receive new finishes from skim-coated walls, to get rid of the concrete block look, to new flooring, various ceiling finishes and fresh modern bathrooms.” Miles said the campus is hopeful to receive a LEED silver rating once the project is completed, meaning the building will have to meet specific standards on sustainability. “All of the systems going into the building are being designed to incorporate energy efficient products and operating systems,” Miles said. UWO student Jenna Thiel, who lived in Fletcher Hall her freshman year, said she noticed updates could be made to the doors and carpeting. “Other than that, Fletcher is a great hall to live in and I hope with these renovations it brings some new and lasting memories for the University,” Thiel said. Thiel said she hopes the renovation keeps the original charm of the building intact. “I hope that Fletcher Hall still has a lot of character, because I think that is what I enjoyed most about that hall,” Thiel said. Miles said once the renovation is complete, Fletcher Hall will be a great residence hall for future UWO students. “Fletcher Hall will still have a traditional residence hall layout, but it will look and feel like a new facility,” Miles said. “It will be a bright, welcoming place to live.”