McCalmont Hall project brings new look to busy intersection

By University Communications
September 5, 2014
Sandra Scott Duex, UW-Stout housing director, explains features of the expanded lounges at McCalmont Hall.

Photo: Sandra Scott Duex, UW-Stout housing director, at McCalmont Hall

One of the more visible buildings at University of Wisconsin-Stout has a fresh, new look, thanks to a $7.9 million renovation.

The nine-month project at McCalmont Hall is wrapping up, allowing 194 students to move in Sunday, Aug. 31, for the 2014-15 academic year.

McCalmont is at the southwest corner of 10th Avenue and Third Street E., one of the busiest intersections on campus. On the other corners are the Memorial Student Center, the library and the Vocational Rehabilitation Building.

Although some work remains to be finished, including several weeks’ worth in the basement along with landscaping next spring, workers were applying finishing touches the week of Aug. 25-30. Residence halls open campuswide Aug. 31.

“When you see the final product, it’s really rewarding. It’s especially exciting for students who will be returning to McCalmont and who will be able to fully appreciate the changes,” said Sandra Scott Duex, director of University Housing.

Although the footprint of the rectangular brick building didn’t change, its appearance did. It no longer looks like the hall that opened in 1963.

On the exterior, new features include a striking five-story, corner glass wall west of the entrance; glass columns at the ends of the east and west hallways; and five-story silver flanges on the east and west walls.

“It has a really modern feel,” Duex said, noting that the exterior scheme meshes with aspects of Jarvis Hall Science Wing, which opened in 2010 a block away.

A wraparound window was added to the northeast corner foundation, further changing the look of the building from the intersection and bringing more natural light to the basement.

“Anytime you have a corner building, curb appeal matters,” Duex said, noting the prominent campus location. “We had no trouble filling this hall because of the location.”

The inside of McCalmont also is eye-catching. Similar to other recent renovations at Hovlid and Fleming halls, student rooms were repainted, recarpeted and have some new furnishings. Bathrooms were redone with larger and more private shower stalls. The infrastructure, including heating and air conditioning, was updated throughout. Hallways were brightened with new paint and lights.

Expanded central lounges are the most noticeable interior change. A student room was knocked out on each floor to make the lounges bigger. They have more seating and gathering space, full kitchens and televisions.

“Cooking their own meals, even if they’re on a meal plan, has become important for students,” Duex said.

The lounges also have more windows and natural light. “Students like to see and be seen. This is a generation that’s used to doing their work in a coffee shop,” Duex said.

“In University Housing, it’s all about creating spaces where student success can happen and physical space matters,” she added.

Also remodeled was a lounge, nicknamed the Fishbowl by students, that connects McCalmont to Antrim-Froggatt hall.

McCalmont is linked to Vocational Rehabilitation via a 10th Avenue skyway. McCalmont previously housed many disabled clients who used services provided by the Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute.

The new McCalmont still can serve that campus population, with two bedrooms on each floor designed for disabled students. Each floor also has special needs bathrooms and shower stalls and a gender neutral bathroom. Sophomores, juniors and seniors will live in McCalmont.

The upper floor of the hall in recent years was office space, but those rooms have been reclaimed for housing. McCalmont has 194 beds compared to 144 when the project began.

The hall is named for Mary McCalmont, who taught chemistry on campus from 1912 to 1952.

The architect was BWBR, of Madison, and the general contractor was SMA Construction Services, of Abrams.

No taxpayer dollars are being used for the McCalmont project; it is being funded by student housing fees. The project was approved in 2013 by the state.

Housing crunch

Along with the McCalmont project, University Housing converted 13 large, corner rooms from double to triple occupancy in Antrim-Froggatt, Tustison-Oetting and Milnes halls, with more corner rooms to be converted next year, Duex said.

Even with the additional 50 beds in McCalmont and 13 beds in the other halls, the nearly 3,000 beds in all 20 UW-Stout residence halls are filled.

With no more beds available, some sophomores — freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus — were released from their housing contracts, Duex said.

The McCalmont project is part of a long-term residence hall renewal plan. Next up could be North Hall renovation, which received Board of Regents support Aug. 21 but still must be approved by the state Legislature.