Wearing a red construction hard hat, a neon orange vest and glasses, David Opp-Beckman, facilities capital project manager for University Housing, described the lush greenery and rain water collector that will soon be at the entrance to Bean Hall. But not before he recalled living there in the 1970s.
“I lived here [in Bean Hall] in 1979… before the time that the hall began to get outdated and the negative talk started,” said Opp-Beckman.
Now he’s hoping that Bean Hall will become a more sought after dorm. At the beginning of fall term, Bean Hall West will re-open and Bean East will close for the remainder of the year to undergo its own renovations. The renovations started with a central goal in mind: to transform Bean Hall. The renovations included gutting and refurbishing nearly the entire building and making the exterior more modern.
Previously, the dorm had eight entrance/exit doors but now has a centralized front door facing East 15th Avenue. There are two ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps parallel on each side of the main staircase that leads to the front entrance.
Through the front doors, what used to be UO’s catering kitchen, now opens up to the main community room. This area has academic spaces along the walls, large slide out white boards, a projector, speaker system and community kitchens.
A group of 5-10 students on the UO Housing Capital Construction team designed the academic spaces including the furniture arrangements and furniture fabric. The students range in grade from juniors to graduate-level and work under Opp-Beckman to work on capital construction projects.
The renovations were guided in part by insights from students about what they like and dislike in the dorms. From the feedback, renovation planners chose to incorporate “cube furniture,” or furniture that is easy to move around and can be sat on, stepped on and stood on is used throughout the building.
“Students said they wanted fewer couches because students don’t frequently all sit next to each other,” said Opp-Beckman.
Each side of Bean Hall will have a community kitchen that includes a stovetop oven, multiple refrigerators and ADA-compliant countertops. There will also be outdoor seating with lighting for night time and an awning for rainy days.
“The community kitchen concept was very popular in Kalapuya-Ilihi Hall and Global Scholars Hall, so we included it in the redesign of Bean,” said Opp-Beckman.
There are also community lounges on each floor that will be similar to the ones in GSH. To access these lounges, there are elevators and a large main staircase. The staircase will have seating underneath it that is similar to the staircase in Erb Memorial Union. This seating style has been popular with students in the past, said Leah Andrews, the director of marketing and communications for University Housing.
On the residential side, the previous brick walls will be painted white, the carpet and ceiling lights have been replaced, the bedrooms got furniture upgrades and the bathrooms are more private.
According to Andrews, Bean Hall offers only double-style rooms, and singles would just be a double converted to a single. Inside the bedrooms, the large wall-shelving units between the windows have been removed, the windows were redesigned and the furniture has been replaced and will feature chrome accents. Even the room numbers have been updated.
Andrews said security was a high priority, so there are three levels of security enforced. Students who are entering Bean Hall must scan a key fob at the front door, a second scan to access the door to residential halls and the third being the bedroom door lock.
The updated bathrooms are now similar to Earl Hall with a shower, toilet and sink in a lockable room. There are also sinks outside of these bathrooms to increase traffic flow for those who don’t need the full bathroom.
After knocking down the large 8-foot walls on the north side of Bean Hall, students will now have access to walk from the main entrance of Bean Hall straight to a door that opens to west entrance to Matthew Knight Arena. This path also makes the arena a straight shot from Global Scholars and Kalapuya-Ilihi halls.
After a scheduled powerwash on Aug. 20, the final touches will be completed and Bean Hall should be finished about a week before school begins.
“Students will no longer frown when they get assigned Bean,” said Opp-Beckman.