Jester West is undergoing a ground floor renovation project to create a better living and learning environment for its residents.
The construction area is located near the community kitchens on the ground floor of the Jester West Residence Hall. The project began Sept. 11 and is expected to be completed in December 2019, said Aaron Voyles, director of residence halls operations for University Housing and Dining.
Voyles said the renovation will update the computer lab and add a new meeting area called the “Fireside Lounge.” The project aims to facilitate group work through adaptable furniture and give students more opportunities to practice presentations by installing monitors in the computer lab, Voyles said.
“I feel like people would still probably utilize (the Perry-Castañeda Library) unless (the ground floor lounge) is very heavily marketed and entirely up-to-date in a comfortable setting,” finance sophomore Divya Koothan said. “But if (the lounge) were more up-to-date, and a handful of people came, it’d be a lot more popular.”
According to an email from UHD addressed to Jester West residents, quiet hours will be prioritized during construction.
“Our goal is to provide better options for residents to study and get together,” the email said.
Voyles said the improvement project is the first of a larger plan to update the now 50-year-old building. The next two phases will update the Human Development Center, located across from Brazos Garage, and the south lounge area, which includes the kitchen and a larger lounge space, he said.
“It would be great to do the Human Development Center maybe over the break,” Voyles said. “But we want to make sure that when we do each phase, we’ve got the design that we want and it’s going to be what the students are going to be able to use best.”
During the design process, Voyles said student leaders and resident assistants were invited to look at the design and give their opinion. He said it was important for UHD to hear what students thought of the space because they will be using it more than administrators.
“We want to make sure that we’re providing dynamic, contemporary spaces that are going to support what students are doing now,” Voyles said. “We want to make sure that we’ve got the technology that students need and help students facilitate community building, engagement and effective studying.”