Summer construction will bring updates to residence halls

Bathrooms and roofs will get attention this summer, but campus housing isn’t likely to see any major overhauls for another decade.

Executive Director for Residential Life and Leadership Nathan Thomas said the housing consultants, who surveyed students earlier this year about what they prefer in a campus residence, have compiled data about Bradley and other comparable institutions.

“They are putting together possible plans for the future, and the future is more like 10 to 15 years from now rather than immediate things,” he said. “But we are still committing to those immediate things, like safety and cleanliness in housing.”

The consultants have created scenarios and comparisons, and they presented those findings to the Board of Trustees on Thursday. But as of now, there are no concrete plans in place, Thomas said.

“I imagine the plan for next year will be that a more long-term, strategic plan is put together,” he said.

So even though students won’t be seeing a brand-new dorm building anytime soon, some residence halls will have noticeable improvements by next move-in day, Thomas said.

“To me, looking at long-term housing is a real positive for the students, and a real positive for the university,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop upgrading the dorms as they are now.”

Thomas said some of the buildings to see upgrades will be Heitz Hall, Williams Hall and Geisert Hall.

“We’re finishing Heitz, and it will be available for students next year. We have more demand for Heitz than we have rooms available, and we’re losing about 50 beds with the remodel,” he said. “We will finish the heating and cooling, as well as renovating floors two and four. We will be done with all that come move-in day. That construction will begin the second students move out.”

Construction on the Williams Hall lounges will continue as well, but it will break for finals, he said.

“Williams’ lounges will be finished during the summer, and the work we’re currently doing will stop on study day, and continue after finals,” Thomas said.

And in Geisert, as well as other residence halls, bathroom improvements will be a main focus, he said.

“In Geisert, we’re out for bid on redoing the bathrooms. It depends on the bid how many floors we’ll do,” Thomas said. “We may do all of it, a half, a third, but we’re committed to beginning bathroom work and completing them over the next couple years. Across the board, our major project will be renovating resident hall bathrooms.”

Thomas also said Elmwood Hall, which was closed this year because the extra rooms were not a necessity, should be open at the start of next year.

“We anticipate Elmwood will be open in the fall,” he said. “We will be working on the floors and the ceilings before it opens again.”

As the university considers plans for the future, Thomas said students indicated one essential component in moving forward.

“We’ve continued to see that students are very price-conscious, and that’s something we need to maintain,” he said.