ECU Residence Halls Receive Updates, Renovations
By Christine Neff
Construction crews and East Carolina University staff have been busy at work this summer improving campus residence halls.
All 15 halls on campus will receive some updates before students return for the fall semester. New features include everything from electronic locking systems to exterior wheelchair ramps. In addition, one residence hall, Scott Hall on College Hill, is under going a full renovation, a project that will be completed in Fall 2010.
“It’s a good summer for construction,” said Aaron Lucier, director of ECU housing operations. “Every summer, we take advantage of the three months we have to do as much work as possible.”
Part of that work this summer involves fitting all residence halls with electronic access control systems on exterior doors. Instead of using a traditional key to access buildings, students and staff will now wave an electronic key fob near the locking system. The key fob will unlock the door if the person has access to the building.
Lucier said the upgrade will enhance the residence hall security system, which includes security cameras monitored by ECU Police. ECU officials will be able to quickly deactivate lost or stolen key fobs and track in real-time anyone who enters or attempts to enter a building. The system can also “lockdown” residence halls to protect residents in emergency situations.
“This system does not necessarily change what we do – our doors have always been secure and locked 24 hours a day – but it does enhance it,” Lucier said. “People view electronic security as being more secure, and anything we can do to increase both the reality and perception of security on campus is a good thing.”
Two halls, Jones and Aycock, are being fitted with fire protection sprinkler systems. The project brings ECU closer to its goal of having sprinkler systems in all residential buildings by 2012.
Also this summer, Cotten Residence Hall is receiving an upgrade to its air conditioning system. A project in White Residence Hall will improve handicapped accessibility. And, Garrett Hall gained two ADA accessible entrances/exits with ramps for wheelchair use, new individual shower doors (in place of curtains) in all of the bathrooms and new exterior and interior doors intended to improve fire protection.
Scott Residence Hall, which will be renovated in its entirety, has been completely gutted. The building will be fitted with new interior walls, doors, tile floors, bathroom fixtures, paint, carpet, windows, furniture and plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems. The building’s exterior will also be extensively renovated.
The project includes two additions that will change room configurations and increase building capacity. New four-story towers will be built adjacent to each suite, and a four-story addition with 17 four-room suites, two public group bathrooms and a large mechanical space on the ground level will be built in the courtyard area. When completed, Scott will be the largest dorm on campus with the capacity to house 613 students. The building’s previous eight-person suites will be converted to two, four-person suites with a bathroom per every four students.
The creative redesign is a great example of recycling, Lucier said. While the building’s concrete foundations remain, the renovations will yield the equivalent of a new building. “You can’t help but be excited about this project,” he said. “I really think students arriving next fall on campus will be unable to tell that Scott Hall is not a brand new building.”