Governors Hall to get a makeover

Governors Hall renovations begin June 2020

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Robin Armagost

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Changes to come
November 13, 2019
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Governors Hall to get a makeover

UW-Eau Claire’s Governors Hall built in the 1960s is set to be remodeled in 2020-21.

UW-Eau Claire’s Governors Hall built in the 1960s is set to be remodeled in 2020-21.

UW-Eau Claire’s Governors Hall built in the 1960s is set to be remodeled in 2020-21.

UW-Eau Claire’s Governors Hall built in the 1960s is set to be remodeled in 2020-21.

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Hike up the hill and climb a tall staircase—at the top is Governors Hall, home to over 300 students. 

Governors Hall was constructed in 1962, making it one of the oldest dormitories on campus. The building has never had a comprehensive renovation, according to the Governors Hall webpage.  

UW-Eau Claire’s Facilities Projects website said the renovation will begin June 2020 and is expected to be completed by July 2021, which means students will have one less option for residency during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

The project, which will cost about $19.3 million, will have a brand new addition replacing the current two-story linking structure between the two four-story wings. The new addition will connect every floor by a new elevator lobby, making the building ADA accessible, according to the Facilities Projects page 

Along with the elevators, the bathrooms on every floor will be relocated and expanded to accommodate students with disabilities. The space where the old bathrooms are will become more rooms, according to the Facilities Projects page. This provides space for 46 more students, raising the resident capacity to more than 350 students. 

Other fixtures to the building include replacement of the electrical systems, plumbing systems, mechanical systems, exterior windows and roofing, as well as adding air conditioning, a new fire sprinkler system and additional mechanical ventilation, according to the Facilities Projects Page

Ryan Banaszack, the assistant director of housing, said there will also be more study lounges on each floor, study areas, a kitchenette and a new front desk. The addition will also have a large window wall similar to Karlgaard Towers Hall. 

Governors Hall was planned to be the next building in line for construction after the Towers renovation and The Suites construction, Banaszack said. 

Banaszack also said that, with the renovations, the cost of living will go up to stay at Governors. The exact price is not yet known, but Banaszack said it will be similar to the price increase from the Towers renovation. 

This is Banaszack’s second year as assistant director. He was previously the hall director for Towers for 18 years. He said his time as the director of Towers helped prepare him for his current position. 

Although Governors Hall will be closed for an entire academic year, Banaszack said he believes the project will be completed on time. All furniture will be moved as soon as the Spring 2020 semester ends to prepare for demo in early June. He said it’s an ambitious schedule, but one that is realistic for the building to be open in Fall 2021. 

Banaszack also played a role in the project as he is a member of the facilities committee in addition to his position as assistant director of housing. 

“I have been able to add input and design,” said Banaszack. “Especially considering things we have learned from the Towers and Suites projects.”

The proposal was put together by the facilities committee and was approved at the state level for funding. The committee has just reached the 35 percent mark and received approval from the State Building Commission, Banaszack said. 

“There is still another step or two before we have full approval to move to the final design phases,” said Banaszack. “But everything is moving in the right direction.”

Kelsey Avey, the current residence hall director of Governors Hall, said she enjoys living in the hall and believes it has a great reputation. 

“I love (Governors),” said Avey. “We have a very engaged residence, and students are proud to live here.” 

Avey believes that the renovation will make the building more comfortable for the residents because of the more modern design and additional social spaces. 

Leyirabari Gininwa, a first-year nursing student, is one of the many students who currently reside in Governors Hall. Gininwa was first introduced to Governors Hall by his friend and current roommate. He said his friend described Governors as having a great environment and as arguably the best dorm on campus. Gininwa agrees with his friend. 

“(Governors) is amazing. I love it here.” said Gininwa. “The people are friendly and the vibe is very welcoming.”

Despite the residence hall never having a single renovation, Gininwa doesn’t believe there is much wrong with the physical condition of the building other than problems with the heaters. 

“I’d live there again,” Gininwa said. 

Armagost can be reached at [email protected]

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