The Segundo high rises will be closed for the 2010-2011 academic school year due to a renovation plan titled Segundo Life Safety Project.
The Segundo Services Center (SCC), which houses the Area Service Desk, Academic Advising Center, and The Junction will also be renovated and modernized.
These projects all fall under a 10-year master plan that saw the renovation of the Segundo Dining Commons and the building of the Segundo North Dorms.
The Services Center Project and Life Safety Project complete the main Segundo project, explained Mike Sheehan, associate director of facilities services.
Updates of the high rises – residence halls Malcolm, Gilmore, Ryerson and Bixby – include a seismic upgrade from poor to good, a fire sprinkler system and roof replacements. The project will also install other amenity upgrades such as wireless Internet, carpet, new lighting, better ventilation and a new exhaust system.
Many students see the implementation of wireless Internet as the biggest upgrade to the UC Davis dorm experience.
“It was a hassle living in the dorms without wireless [Internet], but at least the high rises will provide the incoming freshman with the basic amenity in two years,” said Maxine Sarai, a first-year undeclared major living in Bixby Hall.
Wireless Internet will be one of the many upgrades that Student Housing will allocate its renovation funds toward. The university is able to finance the project because, as Sheehan explained, Student Housing is an auxiliary service, which means the department budget comes 100 percent from rates charged to dorm tenants.
“The Segundo Life Safety project is being funded through Student Housing Capital Reserves,” Sheehan said. “We actively plan for five to 10 years out to ensure that we have appropriate reserves to fund projects while maintaining a competitive rate structure.”
The SCC currently holds the mechanical room, which supplies heating and water to the high rises. The new SCC will supply a new mechanical room for the high rises when they both reopen in fall of 2011.
“We were going to upgrade the high rises one at a time, but because of the renovation of the SCC it made sense to take all four at one time,” Sheehan said. “Knock it out all at once.”
This is all possible because of the of the new Tercero South dorms, which will open next fall. The Tercero area will see an influx of students due to the closing of the high rises. The new Tercero dorms named Wall Hall, Potter Hall and Campbell Hall will join Kearney and Laben Hall to complete the Tercero area renovations, which also included the new Tercero dining commons.
“The Tercero dining commons’ renovation was done with the idea that there would be an increased occupancy,” Sheehan said, referring to the expected increased residency in Tercero.
Many students, upset with increased lines at the Segundo dining commons after the closing of the Oxford Circle Dining commons located at Cuarto, seem pessimistic.
“After the Oxford Circle closed in spring last year, those students living in Cuarto had no choice but to eat at Segundo,” said Wendy Li, a sophomore English major. “The lines in the DC got noticeably longer during peak hours, and seating was harder to find overall. Overall, it just became a more crowded and hectic place to eat.”
Many wonder whether the Tercero dining commons will be able to accommodate for such a high increase in students, but Brenan Connolly, general manager for resident dining is confident that the transition will run smoothly.
“Dinner will have the most impact,” Connolly said. “But with extra staffing and doing some things differently in terms of preparation, we don’t anticipate any issues. We’ve thought it out and have a pretty good game plan. Either way, we still won’t be as busy as Segundo is currently.”
ANDY VERDEROSA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.