Adding climate control, new bathrooms and a vibrant 24-hour lounge were just a few key components of the major renovation of Couzens Hall, a co-ed residence hall at University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor. Walbridge was hired to significantly update the building’s interior spaces, infrastructure and technology and, in short, make life inside its walls more appealing to today’s students.
Restoration and Resuscitation
Couzens Hall was built in 1925 for female nursing students attending U-M. While it offered a rich history, it lacked modern-day amenities, including wireless internet and room-by-room climate control. In addition to visible improvements like new windows, updated bathrooms and better accessibility at Couzens Hall, Walbridge also:
- Installed new plumbing, heating, ventilation and fire safety systems
- Incorporated occupancy sensors for better lighting and ventilation control
- Retrofitted the building’s attics to house new mechanical penthouses that deliver vital air conditioning to the facility
Quietly Overcoming Significant Scheduling Challenges
Walbridge faced the challenge of having to renovate Couzens Hall in one year and keep any disruptions to nearby residence halls to a minimum. Most of the construction could not be performed until students moved out for the summer of 2010, which added to the time constraint. No noise was permitted outside of the building during scheduled periods of “quiet time.”
Learning Doesn’t End in the Classroom
The new amenities at Couzens Hall strengthen the connection between learning and living, which is the main objective under the university’s Residential Life Initiatives program. Students now have an updated, inviting facility to retreat to after class. The living and common spaces encourage a sense of community and the building now has plenty of resources to help students get their work done – with all of the comforts of home.