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Alma College Embarks on $21 Million Residence Renovation

Three-year campus modernization effort begins this summer with major renovations to the Mitchell and Newberry residence halls.

Newberry HallNewberry HallHard hats, construction fencing and building trailers will be common sites on the Alma College campus this spring and summer.

The college is launching an ambitious three-year, $21 million campus modernization plan that will result in the remodeling of five residence halls. By fall 2020, more than 80 percent of Alma’s student housing will be upgraded with enhancements that are important to today’s college students.

The effort begins this summer with major renovations to Mitchell and Newberry halls. The plan also calls for interior improvements to Bruske Hall in summer 2019 and the Nisbet/Brazell and Carey/Bonbright complexes in 2020.

Private Bathrooms, Upgraded Student Rooms

The five halls encompass nearly 169,000 square feet of residential living space, providing 890 beds for Alma College students. Major interior renovations to Gelston Hall, the 228-bed residence for Alma’s first-year students, were completed in 2017.

Interior rendering, Newberry Hall.Interior rendering, Newberry Hall.“We are excited about these renovation projects,” says Alma College President Jeff Abernathy. “This will be the largest residence hall improvement effort our campus has ever seen, with as many as 150 construction workers here at times this summer, working in shifts, with timelines to complete the work for student residency in August.”

The hall renovations include all new infrastructure— plumbing, electric and HVAC systems — along with upgraded student rooms, private bathrooms, refreshed finishes and additional student lounges and study spaces along with improved laundry facilities.

Living-learning Communities

In preparation for the renovation work, Alma’s student affairs staff provided design input along with color and material recommendations based on both style and maintenance.

“The Mitchell and Newberry students who return in the fall will find renovated living space that includes not only private bathrooms but also enhanced social and educational spaces for living-learning communities and a continued community feel,” says Karl Rishe, vice president for student affairs. “Our remodeled student residences will have a modern look and feel.”

This year’s work on Mitchell and Newberry halls will begin in full force at the conclusion of the winter term, immediately following Alma College’s commencement ceremony on April 21.

Spending Locally

Alma College has engaged TowerPinkster for architectural design services, with Granger Construction serving as construction manager.

“Last year, we did $5 million in summer construction, and over 20 percent of the work was completed by Gratiot County contractors,” says Abernathy. “This summer, the estimated budget for the work on Mitchell and Newberry halls is more than $14 million. We will strive to do as much with local and state contractors as we can.”

The renovations are financed in part by funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program, which provides favorable-term loans to develop facilities in primarily rural areas and communities with under 20,000 residents.

Story published on April 11, 2018