Renovating Anderson: Phase one

After a waiting period that left it last in the line of halls to be renovated, the Phase I renovations on Anderson Hall were finally completed this summer. And what was it that excited residents most about the refurbished hall? The source of excitement is not the temporary carpets, nor the better air conditioning units but is reportedly the new lounge kitchens.

People are baking bread and cookies in the new ovens, preparing pasta on the four-burner stove and zapping burritos and popcorn in the new microwave ovens. And the best part, according to Anderson Resident Director Catherine Green, is that all this cooking is bringing residents into the lounges and bringing them together.

"I hope that the renovation will emphasize community," Green said. "People are spending more time in the lounges. They are already baking cookies. And the cable hook-up in the lounges will help people move beyond their rooms and into the community areas."

Both new and returning students say they are happy to see the new appliances and countertops. School of Public Affairs sophomore Rebecca Watt said they are a drastic improvement over the old facilities.

"The kitchens are beautiful compared to the ones we had," Watt said. "The old kitchens were ridiculously small and essentially a hell-hole. It was impossible for 40 people to cook on a two-burner stove, a microwave and what passed for a sink."

College of Arts and Sciences freshman Sharon Brown said the new kitchens are also serving to bring floormates and hallmates together.

"We had a group dinner the other night, and eventually we are going to have a potluck," Brown said. "The new kitchen is bringing the residents together as a family."

In addition to the new kitchens, Anderson's approximately 800 residents found new windows in their rooms and new carpeting in the common areas. Other improvements include an upgraded air conditioning system and two upgraded elevators.

Anne Steen, director of the Division of Campus Life, said students have responded that they are excited to be in Anderson.

"(They) cannot wait for the student rooms to be completed," Steen said. " To someone new, bathrooms and student areas still need some work. For returning students, it makes a big difference."

According to Steen, the new kitchens, elevators, windows and air conditioner constituted Phase I of the Anderson renovation project. Phase II, which is scheduled to begin next summer, will include remodeling of the bathrooms, new lounge and room furniture, a fire/safety system with sprinklers and a renovated lobby.

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