Hudson and Rollins reopen on campus

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 | 7:34 p.m. CDT; updated 7:49 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 10, 2010
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Hudson Hall re-opened on the MU campus Tuesday for an open house hosted by Residential Life and Campus Dining Services.

COLUMBIA — When students lug plastic tubs full of clothes through the door of Rollins Commons to move into their new Hudson Hall room later this month, there will be little evidence the space was originally constructed in 1965. The only reminders are a few old Homecoming trophies and plaques displayed in a trophy case.

As they breathe the new car-like smell of freshly installed carpet, the students will enter the modern space punctuated with funky furniture and scattered with computers, and approach a massive front desk anchored on each side by a wall of mailboxes.

The renovation included:

  • Central air conditioning
  • New windows
  • New lighting and finishes
  • Completely renovated community restrooms
  • Expansion to three quiet study rooms per floor
  • Redeveloped Rollins main lounge to include a student technology and computing area
  • Relocation of front desk and mail operations
  • Elevator equipment upgrade and new cars
  • Relocation of main pedestrian access
  • Sprinklers
  • New roofing
  • Exterior brick work
  • Addition of an emergency generator

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The desk, made of recycled shower partitions, is just one example of a building designed with sustainability in mind.

MU's Hudson Hall and Rollins Commons are open for the first time for the fall 2010 semester since the fall 2008 semester, when they closed. Hudson is a residence hall and Rollins is a common space that houses the Rollins Dining Hall and will connect Hudson to Gillett Hall, which should be finished for the fall 2011 semester.

The total project costs $43 million. It includes a new entrance to the Rollins Dining Hall and the remodeling of Gillett Hall.

MU has opened 11 new residence halls and renovated six halls since 2004, said Frankie Minor, director of residential life.

Rollins' new central entrance is more pedestrian friendly because students no longer have to walk through a driveway to get to class, Minor said. The remodel also added a new bike shelter.

He highlighted the sustainability efforts of the new building: it features flooring made with recycled materials.

In front of the building, a garden of Missouri native plants will be watered from rainfall collected on the entrance's roof.

During an open house Tuesday afternoon, Hudson Hall peer adviser Seth Newbold gave tours of the new building. He pointed out the adjustable height loft beds that can be raised high enough for a student to fit a desk underneath.

Newbold said the best view of campus could be seen from the seventh floor lounge where residents gaze out at the dome of Jesse Hall, the rear facade of Ellis Library and the smokestacks of the MU Power Plant.

Each floor has three study rooms, two of which have been converted to student bedrooms to house extra students as MU is seeing what could be one of its largest freshman classes.

Before the renovation, the space held 455 students but after adding study spaces and converting rooms from doubles to singles, it now is designed to hold 420. Newbold said 440 students will be moving in later this month, the surplus housed in the converted study rooms.

Because the Rollins Dining Hall can now be accessed without entering the Rollins lounge, the dining hall can have different hours than the residential hall, which will mean better security, said Director of Campus Dining Services Julaine Kiehn.

Minor said he liked the openness of the new space. He said the 1960s building was built for students from that era, but the new space is a place today and tomorrow's students will be proud to call home.

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