Centennial Hall to get new plumbing

An $8.5 million project will give the hall’s bathrooms a new look.

Sarah Nienaber

Centennial Hall will receive a facelift in 2011 âÄî a project mirroring past work on other University of Minnesota residence halls. The 60-year-old building is facing upgrades to the plumbing system and bathrooms set to begin in late May. The waste and supply lines, toilets, sinks, showers and other bathroom fixtures will be replaced in the $8.5 million project, Housing and Residential Life Facilities Director Connie Thompson said. She said many of the current fixtures are âÄúpretty much originalâÄù to the building, which was built in 1950. In addition to replacing the worn out bathroom facilities, the bathrooms will all receive drains in the floors. Currently, if the bathroom floods, water goes out the door and into the hallways, Thompson said. In both appearance and function, the project should resemble similar work done to Comstock and Middlebrook Halls, University Services Spokesman Tim Busse said. âÄúEventually things wear out and things need to be replaced,âÄù Busse said. While first-year Centennial resident Colton Braun is satisfied with the current bathrooms, he agreed with Busse. âÄúThey are a little old and falling apart,âÄù he said. âÄúThey could definitely use the improvements.âÄù Money for the project is being used from a reserve fund that Housing and Residential Life has available for such projects, Thompson said. The project began with an investigation, said Nancy Rudstrom with University of Minnesota Capital Planning and Project Management. The purpose was to study the building and find out exactly what crews would be facing in late spring, she said. A project like this takes a âÄúconsiderable amount of time,âÄù she said, noting that advanced preparation is important. Housing and Residential Life recently moved into the design phase; tile, toilets, showers and light fixtures are being selected for the bathrooms. Thompson said as soon as the spring semester lets out, construction will begin in one wing of the building. All summer residents will be living in the opposite wing while construction is taking place to minimize disturbance. Construction for the opposite wing is scheduled for summer 2012. âÄúIt will really be nice for the students,âÄù Thompson said. âÄúThey will be excited about [the improvements].âÄù The projects in Comstock and Middlebrook Halls have proven to be environmentally friendly. The projects have helped reduce the amount of water consumed by about 14 percent.