Board accepts option of turning McAuley into dorm

The Board of Trustees officially endorsed the conversion of McAuley Hall from office space to a resident hall after touring the space during their meeting on Friday.Now that it has been approved, “it’s going to be toured by the Educational Policies and Institutional Resources committee (EPIR) … and put forward in front of them to endorse moving forward with this,” Robert Vaughan, director of Capital Planning and Management, said.”[It would] then be put forward to the budget finance and investment committee some time between that point and the first week in March to get approval from them, to get an idea of how we’re going to fund this,” he said.Before the board members decided whether or not to endorse the project, Vaughan took them on a tour of McAuley to give them a better idea of what the building is like.The trustees were looking at how well the building would function as a dorm and to see what steps need to be taken to make the necessary changes.As McAuley was designed and built for dorm space, it was suited well for the conversion. However, with more stringent safety codes and higher environmental expectations among the concerns, there is a significant amount of work to be done.For McAuley to be a residential building, a new sprinkler system will have to be installed, as well as fire and carbon monoxide detection systems.Additionally, the use of the building for offices over the last six or seven years has affected the layout. When Fletcher Allen purchased McAuley Hall from Trinity College, some rooms were consolidated into one large space. As a result, these areas will have to be separated once again into individual rooms, Vaughan said.With the University already in debt, the idea seems to bo to make the switch without a large cost. With regard to the issue of thin, environmentally inefficient windows, Vaughan said that “for now, it’s serviceable.”Also, in order to avoid hiring new staff, RAs situated in dorms in ‘the Back Five’ (Hunt, Sichel, Richardson, Ready and McCann) would instead be placed in McAuley Hall. ‘The Back Five’ would instead have a community adviser, and would be geared for sophomore or upper-classmen, Assistant VP for Student and Campus Life Annie Stevens said.In May, the board will vote again to decide if the conversion should commence.