By Lisa Kopochinski
EAU CLAIRE, Wis.—After completing a new residence hall study for the University of Wisconsin System (UW) in August 2018, EUA Architecture has now revitalized UW-Eau Claire’s North and South residence hall towers to attract and retain students and create new gathering and community spaces.
The North Tower was completed last fall, while the South Tower—the residence hall—was completed in August 2018. Both towers span near 244,000 square feet.
Key features of this $34.5 million two-tower project include the construction of 630 rooms that can accommodate 1,260 beds; replacing all mechanical systems; installed air conditioning; revamping the lobby and reception area and the common spaces on each floor and renovating bathrooms.
Miron Construction Company Inc. was the general contractor on this impressive project. In order to minimize the effect on the overall room availability, the renovation project was phased so that only one tower was off-line at a time.
A central space was added on each floor of the residence towers for students to study, gather and foster community. Bathrooms were relocated and rebuilt with modern features and new showers that include changing areas to increase privacy. All HVAC and plumbing were replaced along with all new windows and building-wide air conditioning.
The team transformed the first-floor lobby into open concept floor plan with a student lounge to provide up-to-date functions, increase efficiency and engage students.
“The biggest design challenge was allocating a very tight budget to address deferred maintenance items, while also physically transforming a building that had a very dated functional design and aesthetics,” explained Jonathan Parker, Senior Project Manager, EUA Architecture.
“Working closely with the University and the State, we were able to create a facility that provided new interactive spaces that enhanced student’s abilities to support each other and be academically successful, while also addressing comfort and life safety needs. Providing kitchens, lounge spaces, and daylight on each floor has provided a space for students to convene and form community ties. Reconfiguring the residence hall common space on the first floor has provided environments for all students in Towers Hall to bond with each other and support each other academically and socially.”