Some students moving into their on-campus housing before classes began were greeted with more than just newly cleaned rooms.
Over the summer, all student rooms, hallways and bathrooms in the Quad were repainted, and some of the study lounges were re-carpeted and re-furnished, according to Business Services.
Additionally, in Mayer Hall of Stouffer College House, the kitchen gas ranges were replaced with electrical ones, and new furniture, tiling and fixtures were added to the rooms.
Altogether, approximately 960 rooms, 30 lounges and 160 bathrooms were worked on in the Quad. Around 80 rooms in Mayer were renovated.
“We were doing it hit or miss,” Executive Director of Business Services Doug Berger said of Penn’s previous approach to renovating college houses. “We would put in fire sprinkler systems, and then we would paint some of the rooms. We want to get into a regular schedule of doing regular renovations every five to seven years.”
According to its Housing and Dining Renewal program, which was implemented in 1998, Business Services is aiming to renovate a few college houses every year. Berger explained that some of the considerations for selecting which buildings need to be renovated in any given year include safety concerns, general appearance and the amount of time since the last renovation.
Berger added that one of the challenges facing Business Services is students’ tendency to destroy the freshly painted walls by using nails to hang up posters.
“Students are going to do what they want to do,” Berger said. “We are going to have to do what we can to make sure the appearance of the walls is not compromised.”
Nathan Watchous, a graduate associate in Mayer, said the renovations to his building were “obvious” as soon as he returned from vacation.
“They have replaced all carpeted flooring with tiles, which I think makes the place easier to clean,” Watchous said. “They also replaced gas ranges with electrical ones, which is an excellent safety improvement.”
Wharton sophomore Nate Rodgers, another resident of Mayer, said he was most pleased by the changes to the kitchens.
“There are stainless steel countertops and open shelves,” Rogers said. “I love to cook, so I like that the kitchen is now more modern and functional.”
College senior Bhargavi Ammu, a four-year Quad resident and a resident adviser in Fisher-Hassenfeld College House, said she also instantly noticed the changes upon returning to Penn.
“You don’t really see it from the outside, but once you walk in you can see everything is freshly painted,” Ammu said.
Ammu believes that the addition of new televisions, carpets and furniture to her study lounge has made the space more inviting.
“The lounge space is critical, especially in the first few weeks,” Ammu said. “It builds a sense of community.”
The Quad was last renovated in 2002, while Mayer has never experienced significant renovations since it was built in the 1960s, according to Berger.
“It is a continuous cycle of evaluation in thinking what we need to do next,” Berger said. “The Quad really was looking tired. It needed a facelift.”
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