Edens Quadrangle has long been considered one of the least desirable spots to live on campus, but the University hopes to improve the quad with a renovation project that began Tuesday.
The project will include the creation of a glass entry portal that will ease students’ travels from Edens Quadrangle to the main West Quadrangle. New areas for studying, gaming and fitness will be added to the existing buildings. In addition, the project will provide general upgrades to the common rooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and outdoor gathering spaces of Edens residence halls. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of November, said Sarah Burdick, director of administration and special projects.
“The renovations will make [Edens] more connected to campus and more livable,” said Rick Johnson, assistant vice president for student affairs for Housing, Dining and Residence Life, which is sponsoring the project.
Edens 1C will be modified to create the addition of the planned entry portal, which will lead from the bottom of the steps at McClendon Tower to the center of the quadrangle. The renovation will also include a study room and a gaming room designed to provide options for both novices and advanced gamers on a variety of systems, including Wii and Xbox.
“The gaming room is very innovative,” Johnson said. “It’s different than any other gaming room in the U.S.”
A new fitness area will be added to Edens 2C with glass doors opening up to the existing patio, a feature Johnson said will increase Edens’ livability and sense of community. The fitness area will include two rooms—one for fitness machines and another for group classes such as Zumba and yoga.
In addition, new glass features will take the place of some existing stonework. Several walls will be replaced with glass to make Edens more transparent and give it a stronger connection to the rest of campus, Johnson explained. Concrete railings will be removed and open railings with lighting will be added.
Several past residents of Edens said the renovations are much needed.
“It’s probably the ugliest dorm, at least from the outside,” senior Samit Patel said. “Everyone says it looks like a prison.”
Senior Cori Hayes noted that the concrete walls detract from Edens’ appearance.
“It’s like a maze how they’ve designed it,” she said. “It looks very bland.”
Johnson added that the plans for the renovations have received positive feedback from students and faculty.
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“This is vastly going to improve the Edens community,” he said. “Everyone on campus [that has seen the plans] has been excited about it.”
Hayes said the plans looked interesting, adding that replacing existing stone features with glass ones will be a nice change.
However, some students were skeptical of whether or not the renovations can truly improve Edens’ desirability.
Zach Ford, a senior who lived in Edens for two years, said the quadrangle's main problem is its distance from the rest of campus—an issue that is not easily fixed.
“If they’re trying to make Edens a more popular place, it’s not going to happen,” he said.
People currently do not have a reason to visit Edens, but the new study and gaming facilities might change that, Patel said.
Although HDRL had originally hoped to finish the project by the start of the Fall semester, only the interior work and the portal will be done by then. The glass work will be completed by the end of October, Johnson noted.
“Some aspects of the renovation are so complex that they can’t be done in the limited time in the summer,” he said.