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Posted on Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Dorm closings will force some University of Michigan students to look off campus

By Kellie Woodhouse


Bikes chained outside of the University of Michigan dormitory Baits 1 which will be permanently closed next year.

Melanie Maxwell I

With three residence halls scheduled to be closed next fall, a large number of returning University of Michigan students who would prefer dormitory housing will have to look off-campus.

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University of Michigan's East Quadrangle dormitory is getting a $116 million renovation next year, taking 860 beds offline.

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An architect's rendering of Landmark, which will add hundreds of new beds to the Ann Arbor off-campus housing market and is scheduled to open next fall.

East Quadrangle, an 860-person dormitory on Central Campus, will be closed next academic year for a $116 million renovation. The 260-bed Lawyers Club, a dormitory on the Law Quad exclusively for law students, also will be closed for a $39 million renovation.

U-M is closing North Campus dorm Baits I, which houses 571 students, permanently in May due to outdated infrastructure.

That's a total reduction of 1,691 beds.

With the $56 million renovation of Alice Crocker Lloyd Hall finishing this summer, the 560-person Hill dormitory will reopen next fall, reducing U-M's bed deficit to 1,131.

"It will be interesting to see how we can manage the space for the returning students," said Peter Logan, director of communications for University Housing.

There are 11,540 students —10,140 undergraduates and 1,400 graduates— living on campus this year. With Lloyd Hall closed, total housing capacity this year is 11,701, Logan said.

Capacity drops to roughly 11,130 next year as one dormitory reopens and three others close.

North Campus dormitory Baits II also will get a $12 million renovation throughout 2012 and 2013, but the university plans to renovate over the course of two summers and avoid closing the 575-bed hall.

U-M's housing crunch comes at a time when the off-campus housing market is particularly prepared to absorb the extra students. It also comes two years after U-M opened the $175 million, 450-bed North Quad residence hall, the first new dormitory in more than 30 years.

Two high-rise student apartment projects, Zaragon West and Landmark, are under construction and are expected to open next fall. Collectively, they'll add about 800 new beds to the student apartment market in downtown Ann Arbor.

It also comes at a time when enrollment is at record high levels.

Logan said that while university officials are still trying to determine exactly how to tweak their housing formula, one thing is clear: Freshmen will still be guaranteed a spot on campus.

"We do know that we have a commitment to incoming first-year students to provide spaces for them on campus, not just North Campus or Central Campus but throughout our housing facilities," Logan said. "It's the incoming student who needs the residential experience, who really benefits form the residential experience because it provides the support and community that helps them make the transition to college."


A view of the $56 million Alice Crocker Lloyd Hall renovations from the recently renovated $49 million Couzens Hall.

Jeff Sainlar I


University of Michigan's Lawyers Club will undergo a $39 million renovation next year.

Photo courtesy of University of Michigan

With University Housing limited, more and more freshmen likely will have to live on North Campus, a spot many students say is the least desired place to live at U-M because of its distance from Central Campus, the hub of student activity.

"No one wants to live on North Campus," said Baits II resident and U-M freshman Anna Metzger. "When you tell people you live on North Campus, people feel sorry for you."

Several years ago, U-M switched North Campus dorm Northwood III from graduate housing to freshman housing. The university needed to make the switch because it was running out of room to accommodate a growing freshman class in the midst of a major residential life initiative that encompasses the renovation of one major dorm each year.

Logan says U-M will now open Northwood II and III to freshmen, accommodating up to 360 new students and effectively forcing a greater number of graduate students to live off campus.

Freshmen inhabit the majority of North Campus dorm rooms. The university typically reserves rooms for freshman students in nearly all of its dormitories, but upperclassmen returning to on-campus housing get priority on the preferred dorms, which are usually on Central Campus.

Logan said that despite the crunch, U-M will not overstuff dorms.

"We do not attempt to cram three in a space that is intended for two," Logan said. "We don’t sardine students."

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Peter Logan

Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

This article is incomplete and misleading. Campus apartments at University of Michigan will be used to compensate for the residence halls that will be unavailable next year. All incoming first-year students next year who apply for housing at the University of Michigan will be placed in a campus residential community; and most current students who want to return to campus housing next year also will be able to select a residence hall or university apartment space. Peter Logan, Communications Director University Housing University of Michigan

Elaine F. Owsley

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy!!! As a student at Central Michigan in the mid '50's, I shared a room set up for two with three other girls. We survived. The multi-shared bath and shower facilities were down the hall and we made do. Was it annoying? Sure, but we didn't "suffer" anything but a little inconvenience. Man up, kids. There are worse ways to live in this world.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 7:41 p.m.

updating is good but pushing students into expensive off campus apartments is bad.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 6:50 p.m.

A lot of these students will return home after graduation with massive debt. The rent in off-campus housing is quite high...forcing students to cram themselves together in sub-standard, badly maintained off-campus slums. My daughter lived in several of these wiring...broken windows, filthy curtains. No air conditioning, and windows that would not open...etc. We leaned HARD on these slum lords, and got little action. Our daughter ended up living with us , while she continued to pay her rent. So. The U of M is closing dorms?! Shows how much they care about their students. At least, when my daughter was in the dorm, we knew she had access to three squares a day.


Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

I would have them do regular maintenance and the dorms remain habitable.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

Unfortunatley, there's a limit to the amount of money to which even the mighty U-M has access. They did build a new dorm and are renovating/upgrading the others. Baits I needed to be closed just because it is such a mess. What would you have them do?

John of Saline

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 5:38 p.m.

"We do not attempt to cram three in a space that is intended for two," Logan said. "We don't sardine students." Oh, really? When I was there a "converted triple" was a double room with three residents. They jam them in when convenient. (Weirdly, when I lived in Baits I, I lived in a single, but the room clearly had been a double at one time, with two desks, etc. Not sure why they did that.)


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

Yeah Baits 1 was primarily single rooms when I lived there

Berda Green

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

they will be ok


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 6:51 p.m.

As long as it's not YOUR kid.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.

would you please do an article examining the market forces that are leading to all of these large student high-rises and smaller apartment buildings like city place and the one planned for south main? why are all of these sprouting up now? how are they financed? will this segregate students by wealth (i.e., rich kids in the high rises and less-rich in the student ghetto)? will they have any real impact on the off-campus rental market?


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 6:03 p.m.

OK, but why now? the story on possible changes to off campus market was fine, but nowhere do you answer the question why, after so many decades with no significant high-rise construction, are there half a dozen going on now? i'm just genuinely curious

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

@Bonsai - In addition to Kellie's links, here is an analysis I did in August that examines how the high-rises could change the off-campus rental market: <a href=""></a>

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 4:34 p.m.

My colleague business reporter Lizzy Alfs wrote a few very interesting articles on this topic. <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a>


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

Isn't this what City Place is for? Student housing? The way they are going at it, this place will be up and running by next summer. No need to worry about places for incoming students.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

Having traveled to many universities across the country in the past several years, four things are apparent: 1) Good-quality university-owned housing stock is vital. Prospective students tour dorms, remembering them when making college decisions. 2) U of M is exactly correct in its endeavor to create new, and renovated, living space for students. 3) The private sector responds to opportunity. New housing stock is evidence. New, major players look to capture market share form the local "cottage" industry. 4) A certain percent of small-scale, local rental owners is caught in a classic Catch-22 situation. Catch 22? &gt; On one hand, they do not want new construction in their neighborhoods. When new competes with old, new typically wins, given pricing similarity. To preserve their monopolistic position, non-occupant owners hide behind historic district requests, as well as R4C reforms, hoping to prevent new construction. &gt; On the other hand, the lack of historic designation and R4C reform enhances and preserves the non-occupant owners' property values, and returns on investment. This logical and emotionally charged paradox is of little concern to students. To the contrary, they receive most benefit. They have more choice than ever regarding housing. New buildings near completion, with multiple more in the pipeline. Considering that 52% of housing in Ann Arbor is rental, vs 42% owner occupied, there is ample opportunity for choice across a broad rental price range. Also, in the past 10 years approximately 70% of new housing in Ann Arbor is rental stock. Personally, I love this about Ann Arbor. Our industry is education, research, and health care. We are leaders in the world, attracting a wonderful diversity of young people. Thank you U of M, and those that provide great private-sector housing for our students.

lindsay erin

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

It's kind of interesting how this article suggests that Zaragon West &amp; Landmark (the 2 new student high-rise projects) will help by providing 800 beds to the students that are displaced during the dorm renovations. I think many students choose to live in the dorms after freshman year because the dorms are (relatively speaking) an affordable housing option. The students that would live in the dorms as sophomores are probably not the same ones who can afford a loft in a brand new high rise. (For the most part anyways.) Maybe the University can work out promotional opportunities for student housing groups so students have options rather than being expected to look into the likely over-priced new high-rise buildings? I am certain there are housing options that are frequently overlooked since students naturally migrate to where their friends lived the previous year and what not. Also, spelling error: &quot;'We do know that we have a commitment to incoming first-year students to *PROVIDE* spaces for them on campus, not just North Campus or Central Campus but throughout our hosing facilities,' Logan said.&quot;

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.

Lindsay, thanks for pointing out the missing 'i' in provide, I've fixed it.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:17 p.m.

Unlike Zax, and without stereotyping hard working folks who happen to own a rental house to augment their income, I applaud the U of M for continually updating their buildings. Last year they put a new dorm on and this year they take another off to rebuild. Sounds like a progressive plan to improve the student experience. I am sorry that folks like Zax and our Mayor dislike the student area so much. I grew up in Ann Arbor and have always welcomed the experience that the kids bring. The Mayor's solution by allow high rise buildings along S. U. will do much to change this experience while creating a wind tunnel and box like buildings. I am very saddened to see this 'Progress'


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 11:15 p.m.

I enjoy and care about the students, it's the landlords of the ghetto houses split into dangerously below code and safety feature apartments that bother me. Students died in a house fire last year because of being trapped in a basement &quot;bedroom&quot; with no egress.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

The student ghetto landlords are cheering right now. That's the area that should have been demolished instead of the neighborhood at Fifth. Planning ahead to close several residences at once seems kinda fishy, we don't sardine students? Oh just leave them out in the cold at the mercy of the landlords, so much nicer than cramp living quarters. Who's in charge here? I hope all of the incoming prospects for next fall are reading this.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.

&quot;We do not attempt to cram three in a space that is intended for two,&quot; Logan said. &quot;We don't sardine students.&quot; Many years they put students in lounges until rooms open up, including 3 to a lounge... If living on North Campus is Siberia, Northwood is Antarctica... The rationale for closing Baits I clearly doesn't apply to Northwood, which is much further from everything....


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

musicnerdsftw - In the Baits article, the U said &quot;One of the guiding principles of our residential life initiative has been to try to create a greater sense of neighborhood, and (Baits I) is not a community that students have really embraced wildly over the years.&quot; While dining was mentioned, it's the greater sense of neighborhood that's missing from Baits I. Putting freshmen into what was formerly considered &quot;married housing&quot; isn't going to create a sense of community. Further, with the apartment type living, freshmen are going to be more isolated than ever. And lacking that &quot;adult supervision&quot; that living in a bigger dorm provides. If my child was assigned to Baits or to Northwood, I would have had them not sign the contract and move them into an off-campus apartment rather than live in either area.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

Northwood is more apartment type living with full kitchens. So the dining hall isn't as important.