The renovations come as part of the university’s comprehensive addressing of its residence life portfolio as it moves toward supporting its recently announced two-year residency requirement. At the same time two new residence halls are being constructed, Ireland Hall’s renovations this summer kick off plans to renovate both Dowling and Brady halls, as well, in upcoming summers. No tuition dollars will be used for any of the residence hall renovations.
“Ireland’s a great hall, in good condition in terms of exterior, and is historic and beloved for so many people,” said Aaron Macke, director of residence life. “We want to keep utilizing it for our first-years … and these renovations will get Ireland to a position we feel comfortable and proud that our first-year students are living in a space that feels inclusive, is accessible, and really integrates and connects to other spaces around campus.”
While renovation plans are extensive, the main functionality of the hall as a residence for two- and three-person shared living will remain the same. The hall will also remain as a male residence for fall of 2019. Renovation plans include:
- Making Ireland accessible: An elevator will be installed within the east-facing entrance, which will be revitalized to again be the main entry point and connect residents more immediately to the new first-year residence hall and upper quad.
- Major revitalization of the lower level: Classroom and study space will be added to the lower level, as well as an updating of community and recreation space, helping move Ireland toward a focus on student community and engagement shared across first- and second-year residence halls. A new kitchen and dining space will also be added.
- Connection to the tunnel system: A tunnel will connect Ireland to the parking lot of the new first-year residence hall, and from there to the Iversen Center for Faith and the rest of north campus.
- Updating rooms and bathroom spaces: New windows in resident rooms will be the major change to the main living spaces. Bathrooms will be updated to create a higher functionality and privacy for toilet and showering, reflecting values of gender equity and dignity.
- Improving waste collection and Information Technology Services (ITS) infrastructure: All waste collection will move out of the hallways and into dedicated spaces, mirroring best practices in other buildings across campus. ITS equipment and infrastructure will also be moved into more discrete spaces.
- Code updates: Several renovations will keep the hall up to code and functional for years to come.
“This will be a great thing for Ireland Hall,” Macke said.
Short-term borrowing is funding all renovation of Ireland and other residence hall spaces. No tuition dollars will be used for the Ireland Hall renovations.