Multimillion-Dollar Mid-Quad Renovations Give CMC Residence Halls a Needed Facelift; Students Consulted on Design

Senior Kelsey Brown in her CMC dorm room Senior Kelsey Brown in her CMC dorm room

Approximately $25 million will be spent on a two-phase renovation of the Mid-Quad residence halls, here at Claremont McKenna College, over the next two years.

Phillips, Beckett and Berger Halls will be renovated this summer in the first phase, with Benson and Marks Halls to follow next summer in the second phase. The renovation includes the addition of air conditioning and a complete overhaul of the interiors, with a redesign of the bathrooms, and new flooring, window coverings, wall coverings, doors and lighting. In addition, building exteriors will be “freshened up” with new windows, paint, lighting and signage.

Pfeiffer Partners is the architect for the Mid-Quad renovation project and is responsible for the design of all renovations. The final step will be the redesign of the Mid-Quad landscape and hardscape, with the architectural and planning firm Moore Ruble Yudell hired for this work after successfully completing the North Mall and Flamson Plaza renovation this past summer and creating the CMC Master Plan in 2011.

According to Stephanie Kingsnorth, architect at Pfeiffer Partners, all of the buildings are being updated to meet ADA requirements. This includes new doors and hardware, new restrooms and the installation of elevators.

“The goal for all of the Mid-Quad buildings is attaining LEED Silver designation,” Kingsnorth says. “In order to achieve this, there are multiple sustainable features that are being installed, including all new mechanical systems, plumbing fixtures, interior finishes that are low VOC, and LED light fixtures. In addition, new insulation is being installed that will help the overall building envelope to maintain cooler temperatures.”

Trustee Ken Valach ’82, CEO of Trammell Crow Residential, says he is most proud of the involvement of CMC students in the renovation design.

“Our students worked closely with our architect, Pfeiffer, to come up with plans that would appeal to their peers,” he says. “I understand that at the most recent room draw, Phillips, Beckett and Berger were very popular. It has been decades since that was the case, and I think it was the student input in the design that helped make that happen.”

That student input came as a result of a focus group called “The Mid-Quad Renovation Committee,” comprising CMC students (including RAs) who have lived in the residence halls, and ASCMC representatives. The group convened several meetings to gather input and then met with the architects, as well as with some Deans and other facilities managers. Topics that the students discussed included the need for increased study and social spaces, and interior design schemes.

Karina Hwang ’15 served on the committee.

“I’m really excited for the renovations in Mid-Quad,” she says. “I’ve lived in Beckett during my two years at CMC, and I love the dorm. Mid-Quad has a unique culture that is not recognized as much as the South- or North-Quad’s, and I think this renovation will really bring attention to its unique culture. The color schemes, materials and everything that the architects have come up with are great and will really complement the Mid-Quad culture.”

Another committee member, Alexandra Cooke ’14, believes the Mid-Quad renovations will make the residence halls much more welcoming and diversified.

“Berger, Phillips and Beckett each will have a different theme color in the form of accents throughout the dorm,” she adds. “For example, Beckett is green, Phillips is purple, and Berger is yellow. These accents will be seen in the lounge furniture, new carpet in the hallways, hallway walls, and tiling in the bathroom. This will make each dorm more distinctive and contribute to individual dorm character.”