The renovation of the three traditional towers began with the South Tower in August of 2019. The bathrooms, elevators, fire sprinklers, HVAC and ADA (accessibility) upgrades were the focus of the project. Residents were only assigned to floors 1-4 of South for the 2019-20 school year, allowing the contractors to work on most bathrooms and all three elevators during the school year. The work began at the top of the tower and gradually worked downward, completing the lowest floors in August of 2020. The South Tower opened in its entirety in August of 2020 (except for one elevator car that will still be worked on during the fall semester of 2020). Going forward, all three elevators will become all-stops, thus the two operable elevator cars during the fall 2020 semester will both be all-stops.
Site work on North Tower has also begun in summer of 2020 and is anticipated to conclude prior to Move-In in August of 2021. Once again, the bathrooms, elevators, fire sprinklers, HVAC and ADA (accessibility) upgrades were the focus of the project. Residents were only assigned to floors 1-8 of North for the 2020-21 school year, allowing the contractors to work on most bathrooms and two of the three elevators during the school year. The work will begin at the top of the tower and gradually work downward, completing the lowest floors in August of 2021.
Work on the West Tower will follow North Tower and conclude the Sandburg renovation project.
Impact During Renovation
Once into the construction phase, University Housing has adjusted its building occupancy strategy to accommodate as many students as possible. During this time, RiverView Residence Hall will revert to its original status as a building open to first-year students. In addition, unaffected areas of the Sandburg Traditional Towers (North, South, and West) will have limited availability for upper-level students. Therefore, continuing students will mostly live in the following buildings: Sandburg East, Kenilworth Square Apartments, and Cambridge Commons. New first-year students will mostly live in: Sandburg North, Cambridge Commons, Sandburg West, and RiverView Residence Hall.
Nov. 2014 – University Housing (UH) Facilities Planning Committee presented a facilities project planning matrix to the Director of University Housing that highlighted a severe need for a broad scale approach to replacing the leaking plumbing and showers in the three older towers of Sandburg.
Jan. 2015 – South Tower Bathroom project is included in University Housing annual budget and prep work begins.
2015-2016 Academic Year – Predesign work progresses, including selection of Architect and Engineer for Sandburg South Tower Bathroom Project.
Fall 2016 – Project for South Tower is converted into a project for all three Sandburg Traditional Towers (North, South, and West).
Dec. 2016 – UW-System Board of Regents Approves Changes to Capital Projects from UWM.
The UW-System Board of Regents has approved the project scope and budget and UWS has been deeply involved with much of the planning and coordination that has taken place to date. The State Building Commission has approved the project through the design phase but has yet to vote on a final decision to proceed with construction. That vote is anticipated to occur in late February of 2019.
Feb. 2017 – Gov. Walker Capital Budget proposes funding for Sandburg Project. https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2017/02/21/state-budget-includes-fundsfor-uwms-sandburg-hall.html
Selection of an architectural and engineering team (A/E) for this project occurred during 2017. The principal A/E selected by the Division of Facilities Development and Management (DFDM) was Engberg-Anderson Architects, the plumbing design is by Thunderbird Engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering by IMEG Corp., fire sprinklers by CMG & Associates, and elevator consultation is by Performance Elevator Consulting. In addition to conducting a thorough condition assessment of the existing facilities, these firms have also facilitated the stakeholder input and design processes. Each firm will also be heavily involved in the supervision of contractors, materials and processes when the renovation begins.
Aug. 2017 – WI Legislative Joint Finance Committee approves bonding authority for Sandburg project. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/education/2017/08/29/winners-abudget-committees-choice-building-projects-reflects-has-winners-and-losers-among-uw-campuse/610508001/
The project budget remains unchanged from when it was approved in the biennial budget request in August of 2017. A total of $33,500,000 is allocated for the project.
Spring 2018 – Architectural feedback sessions re: community spaces and layouts
The A/E team was tasked by DFDM to assess the current state of the facilities in the three traditional towers at Sandburg, create a master plan that would model renovations and improvements not just now but in the decades to come, to design a renovation project that could maximize necessary improvements to the facilities within the confines of the project budget, and to oversee the construction administration of the project. The architectural feedback sessions with staff and students (including student leadership organizations) took place in February and March of 2018 as part of the master-planning process and were used to gauge student interest in various topics and ultimately help prioritize which items would remain in the project scope when challenging budget considerations were being weighed. Because infrastructure needs and code stipulations require particular attention, some student-requested changes cannot be accommodated right now within the limits of the project budget. Although significant changes to the layouts of the floors are unlikely to occur, input like increased countertop space in the bathrooms, inclusion of three all-stop elevators versus the current one, and sinks in the lounge kitchens are examples of resident suggestions that are being included in the project scope.
Feb. 2019 – State Building Commission granted its final approval of the project.
Apr. 2019: Final drawings and specifications released for public bidding.
June 2019: Bid packets opened, Corporate Contractors, Inc. (CCI) of Beloit, WI is selected as the general prime contractor.
July 2019: North Tower under design.
Aug. 2020: South Tower completed; North Tower under renovation.
Week of September 14:
- Floors 10,11,12 Drywall and cleanup install sprinkler pipes
- Floors 13,14,15 plumbing rough and insulation drywall at the end of the week. Demo and install sprinkler pipes.
- Floors 16,17,18,19 install shaft walls ( this requires hammer drill work) done after 8:00 a.m.
- Floors 20,21,22,23,24 install ductwork and insulation.
- Floor 19 will have heavy hammer drilling on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week.
Work on South Tower is completed, except for one elevator car that will still be worked on during the fall semester of 2020. Highlights include a new 3rd floor community kitchen, updated ADA (accessible) spaces with wheel-in showers, a facelift for the lounge kitchenette area, and all three elevator cars now go to all floors.
North Tower renovation work has begun, with residents moving into floors 1-8 for Fall 2020.
Floors 6-20 continue to see work with various tradespeople in the building. Current projects include: plumbing, HVAC, electrical, fire system, and framing/installing dry walls. Two different projects this month are causing increased noise: drilling into the walls to install pipe hangers for the new plumbing, and cutting out elevator doors for the new stops on even-numbered floors. Fun fact: the new plumbing systems will install more than 40,000 lbs. of pipe, tubing, and fittings in Sandburg South Tower.
On behalf of our University Housing department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I want to welcome you, and share some important updates regarding housing in 2020-2021.
In August of 2019, after many years of planning and designing, we began moving forward with a major renovation in Sandburg Residence Hall Traditional Towers, which are quickly coming up on their 50th birthday. The renovation focuses on updating the plumbing and ventilation infrastructure, while adding elevator stops on floors where they did not previously exist, and exponentially increasing the number of ADA-accessible suites we are able to offer. These are all projects we consider vital to the long-term success of Sandburg Hall and UWM. During 2019-20, the renovation began with a focus on South Tower; currently, work has begun on North Tower for 2020-21; and it will finish up with West Tower. To stay up-to-date with our renovation project, please visit uwm.edu/housing/renovation, where we will continue to post updates as the project continues.
During the renovation, we will continue to have residents living in North, South, and West Towers, when those areas are not under construction. While our residents in Sandburg are situated on the Kenwood Campus near many academic buildings and classes, they will also have to deal with the noise and bustle of living next to a construction site. To alleviate some of the impact, University Housing will have agreements with contractors on what times of day they can be active and will have “buffer floors” between spaces where work is being completed.
North Tower residents: Because your tower is currently under renovation, please make sure you follow signage for elevators that are currently in use for students and use stairs whenever possible to decrease wait times. The North Tower laundry room is still available for use, but you must use the elevator to access it on the G2 level.
We are confident that all of our residents (regardless of their academic class, hometown, or room assignment) will enjoy the community, amenities, and fun that come as part and parcel of the UWM University Housing experience.
If you have any questions, please contact our University Housing Office at (414) 229-4065 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our office is open 8:00am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday.
Please be aware that elevator contracts have to access the Sandburg South Tower Penthouse multiple times per day through the end of the calendar year (12/31/2020).
If you experience any issues or concerns within your suite that are not an immediate concern, please submit a work order through fixit.uwm.edu.
If you experience something more concerning (i.e. no hot water, fire equipment not working, or toilet not flushing) please contact the service desk at 414-229-6123 and have them page maintenance to come and check it out.
Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to seeing you on campus soon!