Richmond re-opens after renovation
When senior Ben Seigel lived in Richmond Hall as a freshman, bunking beds was a necessity. They only had an aisle as wide as the mini-fridge to walk around the room.
As he toured the newly renovated dorm three years later, Seigel was ready to move back in.
After nearly two years, Richmond Hall’s renovations are finally complete.
Assistant Vice President of Housing and Residence Life Jerry Dieringer led a tour of Richmond Hall on May 25 for any faculty and students interested in learning and viewing the renovations.
“The primary driver of this project was that we were having a number of maintenance and continuing concerns about the building, which included water infiltration and maintenance upkeep issues,” Dieringer said.
As renovations continued, the discovery of plumbing, electrical and window issues delayed Richmond Hall’s opening to fall 2013 instead of this past spring. Environmentally friendly lights brighten previously dim hallways.
The building is now watertight and features a new elevator functioning on all floors, as well as security cameras.
“We flooded from the roof down that year,” said Vicki Devlin, a senior who also lived in Richmond Hall during her freshman year. “It sank down to the third floor. Now it just looks structurally sound.”
Richmond Hall’s main entrance moved from the front porch to the side facing Stephens Hall for wheelchair accessibility.
The Community Center desk moved up one floor to that entrance, with the building’s primary stairwell located behind it.
The ceiling was raised in all rooms up to two feet, including Richmond Classroom. The doors now feature peepholes and only three students maximum will occupy a room, eliminating the crowding of four-person rooms.
“All the furniture is new, so if you scratched your name in something, it’s gone,” Dieringer said.
Students will find larger lounges on each floor. Seigel said the old lounges were claustrophobic, even if he was in there alone.
“The way they have it set up now, they’re so open, you can go in there and do work and it can be your community living space. It forces people to come together and interact,” Seigel said.
Richmond Hall will be home to STEM scholars, a residential learning community for science, technology, engineering and mathematics students.
According to Dieringer, STEM and the Honors program in Douglass House are the only two full-building programs.
Dieringer said the renovations are 30-year fixes that create a desirable, modern environment for students. Even with the extra semester delay, administration knows the job was done correctly.
“We are thrilled, and I’m personally just grateful for the work of all the people involved,” Dieringer said.