Room for One: Burke Hall Renovations

JACK MICKELSON | NEWS CORRESPONDENT

Each new year at Saint Norbert brings changes to campus. The 2018-2019 academic year will bring big changes to student housing on campus, primarily to Dennis M. Burke Hall, which will be converted to single rooms on all floors.

The “Times” had the opportunity to talk with Joe Totman, the Senior Director of Residential Education and Housing, who provided insight on the plan for next year’s housing. When asked about why Burke Hall was set to go through changes, Totman said, “The Burke Hall renovation is the start of a campus wide residence hall renovation project.  The renovations are being done to modernize the look of the interior spaces and to improve student satisfaction.”

As a current Burke resident, Tim Kreidler ’22 shared his thoughts about the conversion of Burke into singles. He said, “There is easily enough space for two people to live in a Burke room.” He continued by stating, “the issue isn’t the space, but rather how residents choose to optimize the space.” Kreidler and his roommate Clay Larson ’22 had recently decided to bunk their beds in hopes of achieving more space. Kreidler is extremely happy with the result, and calls it a “success story, to say the least.”

Although the renovation plans are already set, many SNC students worry about finding a living space on campus and, once one is found, having enough room in that space.

Totman touched on this topic, saying, “We try to manage our bed space as best we can.  Sometimes the student numbers are higher than our bed space, and then we consider releasing a few seniors.  We are committed to maintaining a 4-year residency requirement.” 

The 4-year residency requirement, one of Saint Norbert’s housing policies, states that “All students must live on campus unless released from the residency requirement. Release may be granted for commuter status or off-campus status. Students should follow proper procedures for release.”

If interested in learning more, students can visit the Residential Education and Housing Department’s website at snc.edu/housing for further details on housing policies.

When asked about plans beyond the conversion of Burke, Totman stated, “Our hopes are to update all of our traditional residence halls. The current plan is to do the work to one building each summer.”

The renovation plans are not set n stone to this timetable, however: “Finances/funding will determine if this will happen or if we will need to take a summer off every so often,” Totman said.

Asked to comment on potential plans for new residence halls, Totman replied, “There are no confirmed plans for new construction at this time, but there have been some brief discussions about this as a future option.  The discussion has revolved more around extending another wing onto Gries Hall if possible.”

As the news of Burke’s changes has spread around campus, word has also spread that Victor McCormick hall would also receive changes, going from a four-person suite to a three-person living space.

Totman squashed said rumors: “That is an idea that has come up for VMC.  However, we have not started working on the renovation plans for that building yet.  VMC [renovations] probably won’t happen for at a minimum four years – probably longer.”

“The Saint Norbert Times” thanks Joe Totman for taking time to speak about the housing plans for the upcoming years.

If interested in learning more, please contact Joe or the Housing Department at  joe.totman@snc.edu or housing@snc.edu.

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