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Friday, May 26, 2017

Construction

Quadrangle residents prepare for replacement coming in 2019


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Deteriorating conditions at the Quadrangle housing facilties, the oldest on campus, led the Board of Regents to approve its demolition and replacement in early 2018. The new housing should be available in Fall 2019. | Justin Cross/The Cougar

The first residential community on campus, the Quadrangle — or Quads, as students call it — is facing its final days.

“Many projects are currently on the drawing board,” Khator said in her Fall Address on Oct. 5. “Among them a new Quad, which will add an additional 200 beds and include housing alternatives for international students.”

Don Yackley, executive director of Student Housing and Residential Life, said that the University’s Facility Condition Assessment recommended replacement over renovation for the built-in-1950 Quad because the infrastructure has deteriorated.

Yackley said Student Housing and Residential Life will oversee the relocation of all organizations housed in Oberholtzer Hall including Cougars in Recovery as well as a UH Police Department office.

All for students

Yackley said the projected $80 million housing community will have at least 1,000 beds and that students are the center of this endeavor.

Ashley Olupona, a sophomore living in Law Hall at the Quad, said it’s a good thing the Quad is being replaced.  With deconstruction set to begin in early 2018, however, she wonders whether it will be a housing option for the 2018-2019 year.

“If that’s the issue, then that’s going to be a problem,” Olupona said. “If not, then it’ll be fine if they don’t have it open for other people.”

With Khator’s $100 million Core Renovation program that focuses on six academic buildings forming the “core of our campus” on the drawing board, the question of renovation or replacement remains for other buildings such as Moody Towers.

“After the Quadrangle replacement project is completed, Student Housing and Residential Life will assess the future of Moody Towers,” Yackley said.

Yackley said that new facilities will become available in August 2019. UH Facilities and Construction Management said they are in the selection process for an architectural and engineering team.

Special connection

Since its establishment, the Quads have housed current and former students like 1989 graduate Mike Pede, the associate vice president of Alumni Relations as well as the University of Houston Alumni Association’s president and CEO.

“Living on campus makes all the difference in the world,” Pede said. “You’re thrown into a community of which you get friends from all over the world that you wouldn’t have met before.”

Pede, who lived in Bates Hall during the 1987-1988 academic year, said a notable memory from his time at the Quads was playing sock football with Andre Ware.

“We basically had a future Heisman Trophy winner, two All-American wide receivers, All-American offensive linemen who could’ve broken a hand, a wrist, a foot, a finger at any moment,” Pede said. “We were literally a broken-finger away from changing the course of history.”

As the oldest residential community, the Quads has provided a backdrop for generations of experiences from past and present students. Some of these stories can be found in a public group titled “Oh No, UH is Tearing Down the Quad!” on Facebook.

The Facebook group has 542 members. Each user shares stories about their time living in the Quad and how important it was to their development as students and alumni.

‘Everybody’s on board’

In regard to the accommodations being made for international students in the Quad’s replacement, Pede believes it makes sense for housing to reflect the international image of the University.

“When you’re as diverse as we are as a university and as a city, you have to match that diversity with what you have so people will feel comfortable when they come to campus,” Pede said. “If a piece of that puzzle is missing and you have an opportunity to find that piece to that puzzle and put it in there… then you do it.”

As UH continues to update facilities as it grows, Pede understands when it’s time to replace buildings that sometimes hold sentimental value for alumni.

“Nobody likes to see the historical pieces of the university just be moved on for some big new shiny thing — even though you might need the big new shiny thing,” Pede said. “It’s a balancing act of how do we properly do that, and I think everybody’s on board.”

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  • Vicki Blythe

    It is the Quad, not Quads! I lived in Law Hall for 5 years.

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