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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Evans Hall Renovation on Track for Opening in January

<st fall, the Carleton College Board of Trustees approved a construction project to renovate Evans Hall. Construction began promptly after the end of classes in June and is now entering its final stages in anticipation of the dormitory’s opening in December.

The $11 million renovation includes changes to life-safety improvements such as an updated sprinkler system and the addition and upgrade of amenities such as an elevator, refurbished bathrooms, new finishes and lighting, and modern appliances and furniture in kitchen and lounge areas. The construction will also add a west-facing entrance to the dormitory with a bike rack and walkway.

Perhaps the most significant change is to refigure the dormitory’s corridors and rooms from a five-column to five-floor layout. Travis Nordgaard, who worked as a resident assistant in Evans last year and served as a CSA senator on the Evans Renovation Committee, said that he expects the new layout to make a big impact on future Evans residents’ living experiences.

Nordgaard said, “It’ll change community. That’s not to say that there was no community in the columns before, but it was of a different nature and maybe that had to do with students’ ideas of Evans: as a place to be more autonomous than in other dorms—the structure of the building was conducive to that. I and others suspect that the floors will make [Evans] more like other dorms at Carleton.”

This architectural change in layout will help increase the maximum capacity of the dormitory from 112 to 152 residents. The planned use of “stackable” furniture in Evans has also contributed to this increase. Stacking, which gives residents the ability to raise beds high enough to place desks, dressers, and other furniture underneath them, may allow students more freedom to alter their living space.

The introduction of stackable furniture at Carleton has provoked controversy, however; some students are concerned that the College is using stacking to fit more students into smaller spaces. Both Nordgaard and CSA senator Jonathan Hillis ‘13 suggested that the college may be increasing room capacity at the expense of student comfort.

“I would say that based on looking at the floor plans, it appears as if there are more people per square foot of room space in Evans than in other dorms,” said Hillis. “Travis and I were concerned that they were putting a lot of money and time and thought into this renovation and we were worried that despite all of that, and despite all of the good intentions, students might be unhappy when they realized that these rooms appeared to have low square-foot-per-person ratios.”

Julie Thornton, Associate Dean of Students and representative of the Division of Student Life on the Evans Renovation Committee, emphasized Carleton’s willingness to respond to the concerns about space.

“There are a couple of rooms on the third and fourth floors that we haven’t assigned students to,” Thornton said. “[Those are] the rooms that Jonathan and Travis suggested we wait on; so we did.”

Thornton also emphasized the magnitude of the improvements that were being made to the dormitory as a whole.
“It’s been a much needed renovation… talked about for about thirty years. We have some ‘tired’ buildings on campus that are nice to be able to give more than just a face-lift to. We’ve added improvements that I think will really be a positive for community.”

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