UWRF renovates North Hall classrooms, auditoriumClassroom renovations starting in North Hall at UW-River Falls this summer are aimed at modernizing and improving student learning environments.
By: Ashley Hall, News Intern , River Falls Journal
Classroom renovations starting in North Hall at UW-River Falls this summer are aimed at modernizing and improving student learning environments.
Room 205 on second floor of North Hall is being remodeled for better efficiency and use of space.
The room was not able to hold an entire class of students before. Some students would end up taking tests out in the hallway.
After this summer’s renovation, the hope is to increase the room capacity by a third, Dan Vande Yacht of the registrar’s office said.
This means that larger classes will be able to use this learning space to its fullest potential.
However, room 205 is not the first room to be remodeled within the last year.
There were three classrooms remodeled last year and the university wanted to hold off on 205 to see how many funds were left over to give the remaining classroom a substantial facelift.
“We wanted to make sure that we were not just doing some cosmetic changes,” Mike Stifter, director of facilities management at UWRF, said. “It was a remodel that was going to enhance learning.”
The other classrooms, 120 South Hall and 200 Agriculture Science, were updated to a contemporary classroom level last summer.
“The other classrooms were going to be expensive projects but we decided to hold off and see where the money was at for 205,” Stifter said.
Money budgeted for room 205 was originally $105,000, but after the other classroom renovations in 2011, there was roughly $65,000 left.
Room 205 will get a new floor, a higher ceiling, new unit ventilators, new projection screens, power outlets, and a projector to make the classroom a contemporary room to enhance the learning experience.
“The 65 (thousand dollars) will give a good face lift but when everything is said and done it will cost about $80,000 for all the improvements,” Stifter said.
In order to have these classroom renovations, the university applies for classroom modernization every two years.
UWRF has received the most funding for classroom updates than any other school in the UW System.
UWRF Campus Planner Dale Braun said that since he did not make the decision to award the money to UWRF, he can only “speculate that the reason is the quality of our proposals compared to those from other institutions.”
“This is where the rubber meets the road,” Braun said. “The classroom is where the primary learning takes place and there is no questions that student-faculty interface improves because of these updates.”
The renovations will not stop at room 205 though, next summer’s renovation projects are already approved and starting to roll with the planning.
The North Hall Auditorium and the basement of Hagestad Hall will be completely remodeled but historically preserved and ready for larger classrooms and enhanced learning for the fall 2013 semester.
“It’s a pretty neat space,” Braun said. “But we can’t utilize it very well right now.”
The auditorium is used for large class lectures but the students use old-school writing tablets to balance on their laps and take their notes. The current situation is not ideal, Braun said.
The auditorium is historical and has not been renovated since about the 1940s, according to Braun.
“We will renovate the space but we will be keeping its historical relevance,” Braun said. “We will be working with the State Historic Preservation Office.”
The remodeling of the auditorium will be about $1 million and the hope is that construction will commence next summer. The auditorium will get the following renovations:
- New seating with a movable desk to take notes on
- An air conditioning unit
- The walls, floors and ceiling will be refinished
- Lighting and electrical services will be replaced
- A classroom technology podium will be installed
But across Cascade Avenue, another summer 2013 renovation is in the works.
Jumping back roughly 20 years, the basement of Hagestad Hall is being named and dedicated to Astronaut Daniel C. Brandenstein.
Brandy’s was the spot to be -- it was part of the old student center, the place to grab a bite to eat with friends and was even turned into a bowling alley at one time.
Today, Brandy’s is just a distant memory to some of the faculty, staff and maybe some community members. Students do not really know about this place unless they have stumbled upon it.
The Brandy’s space will be the other remodeling project for summer 2013. It will be a large lab classroom where students can have a larger, interactive classroom for learning.
“We are trying to create environments for students and faculty to learn better,” Vande Yacht said. “It will create huge impacts on our campus and we are definitely looking forward to those spaces being redone.”