Harrington Residence Complex to reopen fall 2015
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 22:09
Harrington Residence Complex was temporarily closed after the spring 2013 semester to be renovated and reconfigured as part of the plan to transform East Campus into the university’s freshmen and first-year student neighborhood.
“Harrington is undergoing a full renovation including all student rooms, public areas, bathrooms, windows, electrical and plumbing systems and all furnishings,” Jim Tweedy, senior associate director of Residence Life and Housing, stated in an email message. “The renovation is part of a multi-stage, multi-year plan to improve all residence halls on campus and to continuously improve campus life.”
Kathleen Kerr, executive director of Residence Life and Housing, said the university’s plans to renovate Harrington have “been in the works for many, many years.”
The Harrington Commons will undergo what Alexine Cloonan, project manager at the university’s Facilities Planning & Construction Department, said is “a complete gut and upgrade” as part of the third step in the process of creating a freshmen community on East Campus.
This process began in 2007 with the renovations made to Russell Complex and continued with the addition of Louis Redding and Eliphalet Gilbert Halls, which opened in August, Cloonan said. The present stage of the process involves constructing the Academy Street Dining and Residence Halls and closing Harrington to be modernized and refurbished, she said.
The majority of the large-scale improvements being made to the Harrington Complex will be made to the Commons, Cloonan said. Facilities Planning & Construction will tear away the glass facade to create a more welcoming front entrance, and grand doors centered on the wall that faces the Harrington Turf will replace the current side entrance that exists now, she added.
“Entrances are being designed so that each Harrington building can access the Commons directly without going outside,” Tweedy said.
In addition, the front doors will open into an activity hub consisting of student lounges, a Provisions On Demand, a fitness center and the headquarters for Harrington Resident Assistant Staff and Coordinator offices, Kerr said.
The Harrington Mart, which has served East Campus students’ snacking needs for years, will be replaced by a 3,500 square feet P.O.D. run by Dining Services, including a fully functional sandwich station, Cloonan said. The satellite fitness center will be expanded and reconfigured, and a large student lounge will be at the heart of it all, she said.
The current air-conditioning system in the Commons will be replaced by one of higher quality so students can cool off during summer months while studying or socializing with other Harrington residents, Kerr said.
“I think it will be a much more social space for Harrington students,” she added.
While the Commons is where the majority of the work will be done, Harrington dorms are essentially being refreshed; the carpeting and lighting are being upgraded, while all walls and ceilings will receive new coats of paint, she added.
However, due to Harrington’s concrete foundations, the footprints of the halls and rooms will remain as they are, Cloonan said.
“There’s not a lot we can do to modify the interiors, in terms of the size and shapes of the rooms,” she said.
The Harrington Complex, which was built in the 1960s, has withstood quite a bit of wear and tear over the years, Cloonan said, adding that it’s time to start fresh. Asbestos that was found on the roof of the complex was friable, or loose, but was properly removed. It only became hazardous to the construction workers when the demolition process began and it was never a danger to the students, Cloonan said.
The university’s main goal is to ensure that freshmen and first-year students are residing close to the core of the school as they become familiar with the university’s sprawling campus and make the transition to college life, Kerr said. The closer they are to the hub of campus, the more inclined students will be to engage in the many activities that go on at the student centers, she added.
“Harrington has traditionally been a very popular residence hall,” Tweedy said.
Facilities Planning and Construction expects the Harrington Complex to reopen for the fall semester of 2015, Cloonan said.
“We’re really excited about it,” she added. “We think it’s going to be a big change.”