When students arrived on campus, they noticed significant changes to some familiar spaces on campus, including Tower Court West and Severance Hall. The objectives of dormitory renovation work range from improving aesthetics to improving accessibility, and will undoubtedly have an impact on student life.
These renovations include new heating systems, which will improve student comfort and also help meet the university’s energy goals. Plumbing lines were also upgraded, as were the electrical wiring system, bathroom, and kitchenette. Other renovations, such as new carpeting in Tower Court West, had more aesthetic motives. The glass doors leading to Severance’s first floor living room marked a departure from full Gothic inspiration to a more contemporary architectural feel.
Tower West resident Isabella Basile, 26, describes her first impressions of the renovation work.
“The first change you notice when you walk in is that the carpet is now red.”
She also expressed her appreciation for the aesthetic and functional renovations.
“In the past, I think some people had to choose between wanting a building that looked nice and building that looked newer. This renovation provides that without sacrificing the aesthetics. I think so,” she recalls.
Anna Ehrlich, community director for Claflin and Severance Hall and Cedar Lodge, said the renovation was a multi-year project. “The renovation itself took her two years to complete, with most of the work done over the holidays and summer, but the renovation had been planned for several years before it began,” Ehrlich said. explained.
The renovations also aim to improve accessibility and include a new ramp on the first floor that will allow students to move from Severance to the Tower Dining Hall.
“One of the biggest benefits of the Severance renovation is that the building is now fully accessible. All members of the community can live here safely and can access common rooms, dining rooms, and laundry rooms much more easily than before. I’m glad we now have access to it,” Ehrlich said.
This long renovation process included many conversations with the Community Director (CD). Ehrlich describes the CD as a “touchpoint” for planners throughout the renovation planning process to understand the needs of the students living in the building and halls.
“We provided feedback on some of the kitchen designs and some of the seating options in the common areas,” Ehrlich explained.
But she clarified: “We have a team of experts including architects, contractors, and project managers who know much more about this than I do, so ultimately I trust their judgment.” .
Christy Aguilar Vegas ’26, Severance Hall Residential Assistant, discussed her assessment of student response to the renovations.
“I feel that most Cebu residents are very satisfied with the renovation work. There are more functional common areas and a kitchen area has also been added,” Aguilar Vegas said.
Basil also shared his thoughts on his favorite part of the renovation.
“My personal favorite change is the guest room change. When I’m in my room now, I feel like I’m in a clean, nice space,” she says.
Basil later said the newly renovated bathroom was currently out of order and was being repaired.
“Right now we’re all using the same bathroom and that’s okay. Things can happen,” she says.
This renovation also marks the beginning of many more projects to come.
“There’s a new little courtyard area that’s really cute and it’s going to be a community garden,” Aguilar-Vegas said.
Other residence halls will be renovated soon, and Ehrlich is excited about the future of Tower Court.
“The renovations at Severance are more or less complete, but there are always little tweaks here and there. We learn about these spaces as we live and interact with them. The big picture: other buildings on campus As well, the Tower and Claflin are scheduled for major renovations next year.”