Snarr renovations complete: The next steps for MSUM housing development

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By: Katie Betz, betzka@mnstate.edu

Housing at MSUM is getting a new look.

Renovations in East Snarr were completed in August, and students are now enjoying updated living quarters.

According to Heather Phillips, Director of Housing and Residential Life at MSUM, completing East Snarr marks the completion of renovations to the Snarr complex. West Snarr was renovated during the 2013-2014 academic year and opened in August 2014. South Snarr was renovated over the 2016-2017 academic year and opened in August 2017. East Snarr was renovated over the 2017-2018 academic year, reopening last month.

 “There was a campus facilities master plan done … in 2009, focused just on residence halls and assessing our facilities …Then the updated master plan was a campus master plan and included residence,” Phillips said. “That planning work … kind of guided our decisions to renovate.”

East Snarr is only one of the residence halls that has received modifications. Holmquist Hall had new finishes over the summer, such as new carpet, lighting, flooring, paint and new furniture. Finishing updates are in progress at Nelson Hall as well, including new flooring, lighting, paint and furniture. Except for the twelfth floor, the top half of Nelson is closed for renovation, projected to reopen in August 2019.

East Snarr was built in 1964, so it needed some updates. The scope of the project included removing built-in desks and wardrobes, replacing them with movable furniture; electrical and mechanical upgrades; updating heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as fire alarms. The renovations were put in place to address “deferred maintenance,” according to Phillips. The total project cost for renovating the east wing was $9.26 million.

Anna Elgersma, a freshman from Randolph, Wisconsin, majoring in biochemistry, moved into South Snarr this semester and lives as part of a learning community.

Her college experience was not quite what she expected. Elgersma’s floor is gender neutral, and has a co-ed bathroom with full-door showers and stalls. Sharing a bathroom with guys took about took time to adjust to, according to Elgersma. She thought the furniture was “pretty nice.”

 “Our halls had a lot of deferred maintenance. [It] is better to be more preventative and planful in addressing maintenance needs, which is a shift we’ve really tried to make,” Phillips said.

Phillips explained that they are making it a goal to improve preventative maintenance in the residence halls and address maintenance needs through smaller projects as well as big renovations.  She believes that the dorm experience is important to students. For Elgersma, living on campus makes life easier.

“I like living on campus. It’s close to everything. I don’t have to worry about time,” she said. “Everything I need is pretty much at arm’s reach or less than a block away. Especially for when winter comes, because it will be a short walk and I can building-hop easily.”

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