Students should notice some improvements when they move back into the Crowder College residence halls this August.

Crews began work this month to install new showers and put a new coat of paint on the walls.

Commons areas are also receiving new furniture, while the dorm rooms are getting new mattresses.

"We've needed the renovations," said Vice President of Student Affairs Tiffany Slinkard. "The residence halls have been used significantly and it was just time to upgrade. It's all a part of making the facility nicer, better and more livable, to improve the student experience."

The renovations are expected to cost more than $120,000.

This is the first summer that Crowder maintenance crews have had access to the dorms for as long as half the summer, as the Upward Bound program has traditionally been held in two sessions, one session in June and one in July.

However, the Upward Bound program was combined into one June session this summer, allowing the residence halls to be available to undergo renovations.

The dorms, some at least 13 years old, offer around 200 bed spaces each fall.

Slinkard said renovations are expected to finish up by mid-August, just in time for the students to return.
"[Students can expect] new clean facilities, newly painted facilities, just a nice new living space for them to enjoy," Slinkard said.

The work is being completed by Crowder maintenance crews and outside contractors.

Slinkard said this is phase one of the renovations, with the second round tentatively scheduled for spring 2015.
With the beds they currently have filling up quickly, the college is also looking to build a new two-story residence hall, to be located in the center of the existing dorms.

The college's dorms are currently made of 90 bedrooms, housing between 200-220 students, campus life coordinator Mark Aubuchon reported to the Crowder Board of Trustees last month.

With only enough beds to house only approximately 30 percent of their total enrollment, the Crowder Board gave the OK to proceed in seeking a construction manager in their June board meeting.

Jim Cummins, Crowder's vice president of finance, said the college is looking at adding 200 beds, in a residence hall with four-person suites.

Cummins said the residence hall would hopefully be completed by the spring 2015 semester, at which time current dorm residents would be moved in.

With the dorm residents moved out of the original dorms, the college could then begin their second round of renovations that spring, and would open the new residence hall to incoming students in the fall of 2015.