Dobson Hall remodeled 50 years after erection

The sound of pounding hammers and power tools has become the new alarm clock to residents in Dobson Hall.
Dobson Hall is in the process of a $17 million, two-year renovation project at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
“This project has been in the works for four years now and it’s a way to address our aging building and to try to deal our inner structure concerns,” Linda Mulroy-Bowden, Director of Student Housing, said.
The project is part of a package deal for renovating two campus residence halls, Dobson and Melcher Hall. The Dobson renovation started over spring break while Melcher renovations will begin next year.
“Technology has changed significantly since 1965 as well as building codes,” said Rebecca Groves, resident director of Dobson Hall. “We are having it [the hall] be more accessible.”

New updates to Dobson Hall are expected to be done over the summer with a total change to the front entrance, basement and bathrooms. A new elevator and air conditioners will be added to Dobson. A large area will also be added to the basement, available for reservations for students and large events.
“We are making the building more accessible so that’s why we’re adding the elevator. That way we have a more accessible building for students who desire or need that accommodation,” said Mulroy-Bowden. “When we completed a Scion report, that’s a housing needs survey, one of the things students desired is more bathroom privacy. Right now, we have community bathrooms but what will be happening is more privacy within the showers. There will be an accessible bathroom that will be private and, in addition to that, we are offering a gender neutral bathroom on one of the floors and in the basement.”
The gender-neutral bathrooms will be added for students who identify it as a need. A private residence room is being added over the summer for students who require it, which will include its own bathroom and shower specifically for students in physical need.
The rest of the student rooms will see upgrades as well. The rooms will be freshened up with new closets and carpet. For the first time in years, the student residence halls will have window blinds.
Along with the new renovations, another Living Learning Community will be created: starting in Fall 2015, Dobson will be hosting the new Criminal Justice LLC.
“We have a lot of Living and Learning Communities in Dobson. Living and learning communities are high impact practice for students like Women in STEM and Global Exploration Communities,” said Mulroy-Bowden.
With the new LLC and renovations, Dobson will add extra help for Fall 2015.
“We are going to add another resident assistant for the Fall 2015 semester. Right now, we have a senior assistant that does the duties of an RA,” said Groves “[We are] pretty excited about that. We are going to have 14 staff members and that’s the most a traditional residence hall has ever had.”
As the construction and remodeling is taking place, students face some inconveniences. Crews will be working on weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but will not be working during finals week.
“The south and west side of the basement and kitchen will be off limits to students,” said Matthew Zielinski, operations coordinator for student housing. “We are working with the [construction] company to provide the laundry room facilities and set up a temporary kitchen facility. Students will still have it on the east side of the basement and will have a temporary wall to prevent the construction workers going into those areas.”
Zielinski said that the computer lab in the basement will have a temporary set up in a vacant room t that the residents are able to access anytime.
The piano in Dobson Hall will be donated and will not return to the building next year. The volleyball pit located between Dobson and Morrow Halls has also disappeared but will be moved into a new location in the summer.
The interior designs will be up to the residents of Dobson Hall to vote and decide on. Each floor will have its own individuality, such as artwork and paint color, so residents of each floor can distinguish their own.
“We’ve been working with the Dobson students. We have been to their hall council, we’ve been talking to them and I haven’t received any [negative] response from them, so they’re on board. Resident Director Rebecca Groves has been keeping the students informed. They are excited,” said Mulroy-Bowden. “We are really excited and appreciate the residents at Dobson and their willingness to experience inconvenience for a really cool outcome.”