Dorms slated for summer updates

Renovations include new study rooms and upgraded HVAC systems

By Erin Albright and Griffin Brammer, staff writers
Photo courtesy of
Brockman Hall and the Commons Apartments (pictured above) are slated for renovations starting this summer and concluding next summer

During the next two summers, Brockman Hall and the Commons Apartments are set to undergo a series of renovations that will update the buildings and improve accessibility.

Tim Trucco, director of construction in the Office of Physical Plant, explained the changes expected this summer. 

“Physical Plant does pretty regular assessments of the buildings on campus,” Trucco explained. “The simple answer would be Brockman and Commons are overdue for a lot of the maintenance and updates.”

Six apartments in the Commons will be adapted to accommodate wheelchairs, and all the smoke detectors will be replaced in an effort to decrease false fire alarms.

The biggest change to the Commons’ layout will be the addition of a study room on each floor. 

“(We) recognized that there’s a real opportunity to make some pretty modest adjustments to where a partition is or how space is layed out, and (we) get the benefit of additional and better utilized study spaces than what currently exists,” Trucco said.

Steps will be taken to reduce sound transmission between units, and the aging roof and windows will be replaced. Card reader access will also be replaced with a new proximity system. 

According to Apartments Director Ashley Henkes, some of these updates are overdue.

“I am very excited about the upcoming Commons renovation project,” Henkes said. 

She went on to explain that common spaces in the building will be widened to make the dorm more accessible in general. 

“There are some small study alcoves on the west side of the building on each floor that I believe have been underutilized by students…We will also be adding some great tables, chairs and white boards to make these spaces more useful for students,” Henkes explained. 

Residents of both halls can expect energy efficient efforts to be put forth, beginning with the replacement of heating and cooling systems with more efficient ones, as well as the installation of high-energy use fluorescent LED fixtures. 

Across campus, renovations to Brockman will continue previous upgrades. Bathrooms will be updated to improve the waterproofing of showers and eliminate urinals. The kitchenettes in the building will also be updated.   

Renovations are expected to start within hours of the final students leaving. 

“We call it the summer blitz here because it is such a tight timeframe,” Trucco explained.  

Renovations on Brockman are slated for May 8 and 9, while Trucco says his team will wait for commencement ceremonies to end before starting on the Commons, around May 10 and 11.

With Trucco and his team doing constant evaluations on the campus buildings, he is adamant that his job is never truly done. He explained that with Fenwick Hall reaching 10 years of age, more maintenance problems have been filed, and the building will likely be his team’s next focus after Brockman and the Commons.

Austin Parkes, a sophomore political science and philosophy double major, is a current RA for Brockman and is the SRA for the residence hall next year.

“As the future SRA of Brockman, I must say that I’m very excited for these renovations. I am certain the changes will enhance the close-knit community that is so closely identified with Brockman. Being the SRA of a newly renovated building will be a wonderful ‘welcome back’ in August,” Parkes said.

Trucco explained that while renovations are always an ongoing process, this particular set of renovations is important to his team. 

“With completing (Brockman and Commons) we do come to a certain amount of catch up,” Trucco stated. “We get the buildings to a more consistent place with each other, and I think that’s pretty exciting.”

Renovations on both buildings are expected to last for the next two summers, set to be completed by the end of summer 2022.