In 2008 Converse College wanted a student housing master plan for its Spartanburg, South Carolina campus. The goal of this initial planning effort was to evaluate current inventory, consider deferred maintenance, and identify improvements that would support the college’s strategic plan—particularly recruitment and retention. The college hired B&D for this planning. We gathered extensive input from students and administrators, quantified current surpluses and deficits of various on-campus housing configurations and delivered a plan that recommended a shift to a ‘progressive’ housing system, one that would provide more independent housing options as the students progressed through their years at the college. It called for new construction of a 256-bed facility, renovation of 362 beds, and demolition of 223 beds over a ten-year period. At the end of this planning process, we were retained to serve as program manager for the implementation of the housing master plan, beginning with the new $12.3 million senior apartments which opened in 2011, a facility designed to meet LEED standards.
In the ensuing years, we managed additional projects including::
• Pell Hall (92 beds) – Complete renovation and structural stabilization of an 1891 residence hall, and the demolition and replacement of a three-story connector building to the adjacent West Wilson Hall. The renovated, historic facility offers common living rooms, study rooms, a media room, multiple laundry rooms, seminar space, community kitchen, and small common areas.
• Dexter Hall (90 beds) – Maintenance and structural stabilization of an 1899 residence hall. The renovation included a new roof, all new windows, new masonry pointing, a new patio and new entrance porch, apartment renovations, and a new elevator and all associated restoration of the areas around the expanded elevator shaft.
• Central Energy Plant – Design, removal, renovation, and upgrade of a new central energy plant that includes new magnetic redundant chillers, an air-handler, associated piping, boilers, and a state-of-the-art controls system.
• Converse Commons site development – Between Pell Hall, Dexter Hall, Wilson Hall and the Gee Dining Hall, a quad was developed with new grading, banded brick promenades, an elevated dining terrace with covered porch, rose gardens, new landscaping, and a new brick banded roundabout vehicle access to the area.