Tilton, Bush residence halls undergo renovation over summer

Renovated Miller Hall is pictured on Sept. 4. Christine Lee / The Tufts Daily

Bush Hall and Tilton Hall, two first-year residential halls at Tufts, were renovated over the summer during the course of 12 weeks between May 21 and Aug. 16, according to the Operations Division website. Associate Dean of Student Affairs Chris Rossi says these renovations reflect the efforts of Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences James Glaser, Dean of the School of Engineering Jianmin Qu and University President Anthony Monaco.

According to Director of Capital Programs Gretchen von Grossman, the renovations included new window installations, bathrooms with new finishings, a new community kitchen and updated lounge spaces, among other improvements. 

“New, durable insulated windows were installed in each building and the bathrooms were completely redone with new finishes and fixtures, and all restrooms are now accessible, all-gender and single-use. We put in a new community kitchen and renovated lounge spaces in each building, enhanced the common space furniture, and replaced carpet and repainted the buildings,” Grossman said in an email to the Daily.

Grossman further noted that constructors added fresh air supply vents to each floor and replaced Tilton‘s roof. She added that the boiler plant in Tilton, which according to TuftsNow provides steam to the lower campus residence halls, is also being renovated.

The Tufts administration felt that such changes were necessary due to the age of the buildings, according to Grossman. 

“The building systems addressed were either original … or beyond their useful life; it was a timely investment to modernize the systems for the next 20 years of operations,” Grossman told the Daily. 

Grossman added that Bush’s construction was finished in 1959 and Tilton’s in 1962.

Grossman expressed her belief that the renovations will improve the residential experience for students living in those buildings. 

“Most visibly, the changes have brought new life to the common spaces, lounges, kitchens, and bathrooms. With new paint and finishes, contemporary colors and furnishings, the building feels rejuvenated and new while retaining some of its original character. Behind the scenes, the renewed infrastructure elements of the building will keep the building operating reliably and efficiently for years to come,” Grossman said. 

According to Director of Residential Life Josh Hartman, the renovations do not include any forced doubles or triples. 

“A ‘forced’ double or triple implies that the room should actually be a lower capacity but we are forcing it to accommodate more people. We do not have any forced doubles or triples,” Hartman said in an email. “However, it is important to note that we have worked hard to ensure that rooms are at appropriate capacity based on square footage, and that furniture in the room is the most useful in the space.” 

Hartman said that both Bush and Tilton were fully ready for move-in this fall. 

“All first year students have moved into their spaces and the students and families we have spoken with have been impressed with Bush and Tilton,” Hartman said. 

Tara Donohue, a first-year living in Tilton, reported that the common spaces were updated but that work remains to be done in the dorm rooms themselves. 

“I think the common rooms have been nicely renovated, but the dorm rooms are not as great,” Donohue said. “They’re … dirty and some of the electrical outlets don’t work.” 

According to Grossman, the renovation projects went smoothly. She praised in particular the large amount of construction that occurred over 12 weeks.

Renovations of Houston Hall, which began last semester after Miller Hall‘s renovation, also concluded at the end of the summer. Both renovations included updated common spaces and new study spaces for students.

According to Rossi, the renovations reflect the Tufts administration’s continued commitment to improving residential life for students. 

“The renovations to Bush and Tilton are another example of President Monaco, Deans Glaser and Qu, and administrative leaders investing in the student residential experience at Tufts,” Rossi said in an email. “In many cases, such as Miller, Houston, and CoHo, we have simultaneously expanded housing capacity on-campus while improving the look and feel of residential spaces.”

A February Daily article also detailed Tufts’ acquisition of 123 Packard Avenue from the Theta Delta Chi Corporation for $2 million. According to the article and the Student Affairs website, the building is ready for occupation and will house students returning from Tufts’ inaugural Civic Semester.

Rossi commented that, overall, the renovations improved the amenities for students living in the residence halls.

“The projects in Bush, Tilton, and 123 Packard Ave also demonstrate our overall commitment to upgrading our residence halls by enhancing amenities for Tufts students, including improved community kitchens, renovated bathrooms, and replacing outdated furniture in lounges,” Rossi said.


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