As renovations wrap up at its main library, Virginia Commonwealth University is turning its attention toward upgrades for a 14-year-old residence hall.
The VCU Board of Visitors has approved a $7.5 million project to renovate the Ackell Residence Center at 1100 W. Broad St., just east of the Siegel Center.
The project calls for complete renovations on the interiors of the building’s two- and four-bedroom apartment-style units. Existing floor, wall and ceiling finishes will be replaced, as will cabinetry, plumbing fixtures and light fixtures.
The work will also involve HVAC system improvements, with full replacements of the building’s rooftop condensing units, which have sustained hail damage, and interior apartment fan coil units.
The design work for the project was awarded to locally based KOP Architects, which is one of 15 architecture and engineering firms with term contracts with the university. For projects such as Ackell with a limited design scope, the university can select from that pool of approved firms without bidding the project out, according to a board memo.
Board of Visitors documents did not name a contractor for the project.
KOP was selected for its experience with VCU on numerous building renovations. According to the firm, it has worked on about 80 percent of the buildings on the university’s Monroe and MCV campuses over the 15 years it has had its term contract.
Previous projects have included renovations to the facilities and financial services building at 700 W. Grace St. The firm has also done work on the Johnson Hall high-rise, where it renovated common areas and added a curved wheelchair ramp, and it is about to start similar work on Rhoads Hall next door.
The renovations will be the first significant upgrades for Ackell since it was built in 2001. The four-story dorm, which houses approximately 350 students, has received only paint and routine maintenance and repairs over the past 14 years.
A report to the board says the condition of the building’s interior apartment finishes, casework, plumbing fixtures and light fixtures have deteriorated significantly in that time. It states the project is needed to ensure residence hall safety and quality facilities.
The $7.5 million project will be funded by the VCU Residential Housing Auxiliary fund balance.
The report does not indicate a timeline for the project or how it may affect students residing in Ackell. Attempts to reach project reps with VCU Facilities Management and KOP were unsuccessful.
The project award comes as VCU is wrapping up renovations and an expansion to Cabell Library. That project, budgeted at $50.8 million, is adding 93,000 square feet of new space to the library and renovating an additional 63,000 square feet of existing space.
Shepley Bulfinch and Moseley Architects are the architects on that project, and W.M. Jordan Co. is the general contractor. The first two floors of the library reopened last month, and the third and fourth floors are expected to open in time for the spring semester.
VCU also recently approved a $15 million bond package to purchase two buildings and renovate five properties, including the former Commonwealth Cancer Institute building at 1109 W. Marshall St. That building, currently used by VCU Athletics for student-athlete support services, is adjacent to Ackell on the Siegel Center side.
In addition to the dorms, the Ackell building has offices and retail space on the ground floor, including a Subway restaurant, various university offices and a VCU Police substation. Those spaces are not included in the project.