An idea conceived by four UW-Madison students in the fall of 2012 is coming to fruition with the remodel of Witte Residence Hall.
After 53 years, the dorm, located in the Southeast neighborhood of UW-Madison’s campus, is set to be renovated later this month.
The four civil engineering students, who have since graduated, were challenged by a professor during their senior capstone course to remodel a campus building. Their idea was to connect the two towers that currently make up Witte, instead of tearing down the building as a whole.
Mike Kinderman, University Housing’s director of facilities, is overseeing the reconstruction and said his department had been considering a number of ways to remodel Witte, but had not thought to connect the two towers. He said the idea was critical to the success of the building plan.
“This allows for us to construct and get new mechanicals into the building without kicking people out of the building,” Kinderman said. “So we are actually doing construction and putting in new mechanicals while the building is still being used and occupied.”
Kinderman says that although the construction will take place during the school year, the remodel is cost-efficient and restrictions have been put in place to minimize the impact it has on students living in the building.
“We will be spending extra time on construction in summer and during break periods and we have limited construction hours later in the day,” Kinderman said. “Other restrictions include test time and move-out time where the contractor can’t even be working.”
According to Kinderman, input from the student advisory board was helpful in the master plan moving forward to break ground in March. An additional floor will be added to make Witte eleven levels instead of ten while other amenities include air conditioning and new plumbing and electrical.
Kinderman said that expanding common spaces for students in the dorms is also a major goal for the remodel.
“The structure at Witte is in really good shape and we felt we were able to work with the structure that was there,” Kinderman said. “Our goal is to expand common-area spaces and not necessarily expand resident rooms or sleeping spaces, but upgrade common-area type activities.”
The renovation is set to be finished in 2019.