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UW – Stevens Point Continues Fire Safety Improvements in Existing Residence Halls

As part of UWSP's renovation program for existing residence halls, Watson Hall will be retrofit with fire sprinklers in 2014.

The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point (UWSP) is home to more than 3,600 students who live on campus, which is why the university has spent the last five years updating many of its 1960s-era residence halls to not only bring them into the 21st century in regard to technology and codes, but also to make them safer for students.

In that timeframe, the university has already renovated six of its existing residence halls, and the renovations have become the model for residence halls in the entire UW system. The renovations took place over the summer months while classes are out and included retrofitting fire sprinklers into the residence halls. Fire sprinklers now protect Baldwin (1965), Burroughs (1967), Hansen (1966), Knutzen (1967), Neale (1965), and Steiner (1967) Halls, each of which has a capacity of nearly 270 students. Between the six 1960s-era residence halls that have been retrofitted with fire sprinklers and the 328-student, apartment-style [email protected], which was built in 2011 with fire sprinklers, the school now has well over half of its on-campus students protected by fire sprinklers.

Now, UWSP has been approved by the State Building Commission to complete renovations to two more existing residence halls, Watson (1968) and Thomson (1969). Each residence hall is over 54,000 gross square feet, four stories tall and houses nearly 270 students.

The seven-month renovations to the two UWSP residence halls will begin as students leave campus for the summer with Watson Hall beginning in May 2014 and Thomson Hall beginning in May 2015.

After those renovations and corresponding fire sprinkler system retrofits, there will only be four more existing on-campus residence halls to be retrofitted with fire sprinklers. University officials from the Residential Living office say there are currently fire sprinkler systems installed in the recycling chute systems of the buildings, but there are plans to fully sprinkler the remaining residence halls in the future.

“Anything dealing with the safety of our students and staff is always our top priority,” says Mike Zsido, assistant director of Residential Living at UWSP.

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