The University will close Patton Hall for renovation next year to place an arch through the center of the building and refurbish dorm rooms.
The arch will create a path that runs straight through campus, connecting Forbes to the soon-to-be-built Campus Center and McCosh Health Center.
Undergraduate Life Committee chair Dana Berneman '99 said she supports construction of the arch. "It's going to provide a much-needed bypass," she said.
Director of Physical Planning Jon Hlafter '61 said Patton will be the first in a series of dorm renovations that have been made possible by the construction of Scully Hall.
Scully will serve as the extra dorm on campus, allowing the University to refurbish one building per year.
"The purpose here is to try to bring dormitory rooms on campus up to an acceptable level," Hlafter said.
The Patton renovation will address the accessibility of bathrooms and the amount of common space in the building, Hlafter said.
"We want to make the building more amenable," he said, describing Patton as "a building that may be the worst dorm on campus."
Patton will house 10 to 15 fewer students than it does now after the renovation is complete, Hlafter said. The extra space will be used to increase common spaces and better distribute bathrooms throughout the building.
"There are certain things wrong with Patton from a code standpoint," Hlafter said, noting that the building currently has no wheelchair accessibility. The University plans to address this problem by placing an elevator in the dorm's south tower.
The University will also modernize plumbing and improve dorm room lighting. Also, the refurbished basement will include a lounge, kitchenette and laundry room.
Berneman said she supports the University's goals for Patton but not the way in which it went about implementing those goals.
"I think that what they're trying to do in terms of making more large (common) spaces needs to be done," she said. However, she added that she thinks the University should have solicited "more student input on room configuration" and "preserving the character" of Patton before finalizing plans for the building.
At least one major problem remains for Hlafter – the University has yet to find a donor for the project.
"One of the problems in doing all of this is that this is not a very interesting opportunity for donors," he said. Rather than attempting to find one donor, Hlafter said he plans to solicit donors to fund individual aspects of the renovation.
Blair Hall will be refurbished in 1999-2000, and Little Hall will be closed for renovations in 2000-2001, Hlafter said.