Johnson Hall, a residence hall for freshmen built in 1960, has recieved a face lift – both inside and out. Renovations for Johnson, which had been in progress since 2005, were completed this summer, just in time for Temple’s incoming class of students.
The Office of University Housing and Residential Life annually reserves a portion of room revenues specifically designated to fund renovations projects, Jill Jalbert, associate director for maintenance operations in University Housing said in an e-mail.
“Over the last five years, Johnson Hall benefited from approximately $4.5 million in renovations,” Jalbert said. The work done in Johnson Hall was part of a five-year plan by University Housing, which “identifies all renovation, reconstruction and major building maintenance for the 12 residence facilities,” Jalbert said. Because there is only a short time during the year when residence halls are empty, smaller projects are sometimes planned over a longer period of time, which was the case with Johnson.
In 2005, all of Johnson’s bathrooms ere remodeled and new light fixtures were installed. The following year, electrical systems were upgraded, air-conditioning units were set up, elevators were renovated and every room received new curtains. This summer brought new tile, carpet and doors to the second-oldest residence hall on campus. The old beds, built-in wardrobes and all of the desks and chairs were removed. In their place is all new, movable furniture, including adjustable beds which offer more storage space.
Next summer, an identical project s planned for Hardwick Hall, the freshman residence hall adjacent to Johnson, said Michael Scales, director of housing and assistant vice president for Student Affairs.
All the companies involved in the renovations were selected through a competitive bid by the Temple University
Purchasing Department,” Jalbert said. University Housing is especially pleased with the “Trey” chair, made by Sauder Manufacturing, which allows residents to have the option of one height adjustable chair or two separate pieces, one of which can be used as another chair or a table, Jalbert said.
“[It] is a unique, new product which we believe creates new options or how residents configure their rooms,” he said.
“A desire to improve resident comfort was the primary driver,” Jalbert said, referring to the department’s motivation for the renovations. “The response has been extremely favorable, which we interpret as ‘money well spent,'” he added. “Prior to the renovations, Johnson Hall was clean, safe and presentable, although the furnishings looked dated,” he added.
William Wychakinas, a junior marketing major who lived in Johnson Hall during his freshman year, said Johnson was always a socially inviting environment and its physical appearance and structural condition was never a major issue.
“I really can’t complain. Could it have been better? Yes, but we made do with what we had,” Wychakinas said.
Although Johnson is a freshman dormitory and the residents are unable to compare the current upgrades with Johnson’s previous appearance, Jalbert said returning upper class resident assistants “were very appreciative of the result, and expressed it openly.”
“Out of all the dorms, I wanted to have the true freshman experience,” said freshman public relations and advertising
major Michelle Ziegenfuss. Because of Johnson’s size, atmosphere and new renovations, it is the perfect place for that experience, she said.
“[Its] is an upscale living space now,” said Taylor Hendrixson, a freshman
Hendrixson, who said he especially liked the new beds, added, “I can sleep pretty well as night.”
Chesney Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org