Landmark Stockwell Hall re-opening as co-ed residence with a $39.6-million makeover
The University of Michigan's largest all-female dorm is going co-ed.
On Sept. 4, Stockwell Hall will re-open as a co-ed residence hall, revealing $39.6 million of renovations and infrastructure upgrades. It will house 402 students, eight fewer than previously.
Built in 1940 for $1 million, the dorm at Observatory and North University Court is named after Madelon Louisa Stockwell, who in 1870 was the first female student at U-M. Stockwell Hall's original Tudor Revival architecture, with its wood-paneled lounge and two distinct fireplaces, leaded windows and interesting brick work, remain as they always have been, said Peter Logan, director of housing communications.
Pauline Walters lived in Stockwell for three years, from 1947 to 1950, when there was one telephone per floor and the girls adhered to strict curfews enforced by watchful housemothers.
Walters still feels a strong connection with Stockwell, where she met many lifelong friends. But she said she understands the switch to co-ed as an economic decision. Demand for all-women dorms has waned.
"I can't imagine being young and having to deal with men around the place," Walters said. "Of course, I'm 80 years old. People today, I just sort of shudder and think, 'Well, that's their parents' problem, not mine.' With Stockwell, it's a matter of economics."Â
Freshmen will no longer live in the dorm. It is now open only to students who are at least in their sophomore year.
The cost of a single room at U-M dorms is $10,650 this year. Those living in double rooms will pay $8.924.The six-story brick structure has been closed for renovations since May 2008. Work will be complete in August.Â
Students at Stockwell, as well as nearby Alice Lloyd, Couzens and Mosher-Jorden halls, will use cafeteria servicesÂ at the Hill Dining Center, which was completed in 2008, Logan said.
Stockwell's infrastructure has been totally made over, with new air conditioning, heating, ventilation and fire detection and suppression systems. Other improvements include new wired and wireless high-speed network access and voice and data cable. All floor bathrooms have been renovated to provide more privacy. A kitchenette and two lounges have been added to each floor.
The Stockwell Hall work is among the latest renovation projects to be completedÂ with the $300 million Residential Life Initiatives program, which began in 2004.
The switch to co-ed is a move that reflects the wishes of students, Logan said. The university held meetings and polled students, alumni and key faculty and staff to test the waters for the change.
"The vast majority of the students who responded to our surveys and questions said a co-ed population would be desirable," Logan said, adding requests for all-female housing have vastly declined.
University Housing doesn't receive money from the general fund; its primary source of funding comes from the students' room and board, Logan said.
"We need to be good stewards of our resources, because the primary funding comes from the students, and consequently, we need to respond to what the students want from the residential experience."
Quite a few Stockwell alumni who were polled hoped itÂ would stay an all-female residence, he said.
U-M Business School grad Ali Blauer lived in Stockwell in 2002. She said that while she was disappointed to learn she'd be living in an all-women dorm, she ended up loving the experience.
"I think a lot of people wouldn't choose it, but once you're in the situation it's not as bad as it sounds," she said. "It feels like you're at camp and with a bunch of your friends all the time."
Remaining all-female residences on campus include Helen Newberry House, which houses 110 students; Betsy Barbour, 120 students; Martha Cook, 145 students, including graduates; and Henderson House, a co-op that houses 30 sophomore-through-graduate students.
A rendering shows the rotunda for the renovated Stockwell Hall.
Juliana Keeping, University of Michigan reporter, can be reached at email@example.com or (734) 623-2528.