On Friday August 21, 2015 students began to move in to the newly renovated Gooch residence hall amid wishful comments from the upperclassmen aiding them. “I wish I could move back in to the building,” said Second Year student McKenzie Cromer. The excitement and positivity over the renovation filled the day as the frenzy of students and parents continued to unpack and fill the residence halls.
Many students were surprised by the modern and fresh look of the suites’ interiors after driving up to the buildings. “When you have old dorms, you don’t think the inside is going to be super modern looking,” said Minh Bui, a Third Year student. The Class of 2019’s moving-in signifies a new life for the area, as the new students’ energy brings vitality back to Gooch residence hall.
Major highlights from the renovation for the students included enthusiasm over the “modern” style bathrooms, new simulated hardwood floors, and the open and more spacious feel of the bedrooms after the transition from single to double rooms. The bathrooms especially were identified as a major improvement: “they are so incredibly nice now … they’ve got nice tile, all modern lights and everything,” said Second Year student Francis Vasquez.
The final phase of the Gooch renovation was completed by May 2016, followed by the beginning of the Dillard renovation that will occur May 2016 – May 2017.
As the Gooch renovation neared completion in 2016, representatives from VMDO’s Higher Education Studio, UVA Facilities Planning and Construction, and New Atlantic Contracting showcased the project at the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) conference in addition to SCUP Mid-Atlantic, and Southern gatherings. The group shared how renovation projects at colleges and universities offer unique opportunities to adapt planning efforts to support iterative, phased design and construction. VMDO’s Michele Westrick also led a session at the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I) conference in Seattle, WA.