UW-Madison: Newell J. Smith Hall Set to Open Aug. 30

MADISON – The University of Wisconsin-Madison is preparing for a milestone: the
opening of Newell J. Smith Hall.

Located at 35 N. Park St., the six-floor, 425-bed building is the first major
residence hall to open on campus since Ogg Hall in 1965.

It will open to students beginning with fall move-in on Wednesday, Aug. 30.

The building has numerous innovations and features designed to help students succeed
academically, including classrooms on the first floor, a tutoring office and study
spaces located throughout the building. Smith Hall also features central air
conditioning in resident rooms and a deli-style café with specialty foods, including
kosher items.

The project, including utility work, land, construction and pedestrian mall
development, cost $37.5 million.

“We’re excited about this new facility,” says University Housing Director Paul
Evans. “We have a beautiful, state-of-the-art building to offer to UW-Madison
students. We’re also honoring one of the most influential figures in student life at
this university over the past century.”

The building’s namesake, Newell J. Smith, 87, served as Housing director from
1955-83 and was regarded as a national expert on student housing during an era of
tumultuous change.

He began his career in 1941 and served Housing continuously – with the exception of
his service in World War II – until his retirement. During his tenure, enrollment at
UW-Madison almost doubled and the number of residents in University Housing almost
tripled. Smith was frequently consulted by universities throughout the United States
and Canada, as well as numerous other public agencies.

In addition to honoring Smith, the building’s 10 houses, or wings, are named for
distinguished individuals who played a role in the history of housing on campus.
Each house accommodates 70 students and one House Fellow. Each floor will have two

Before designing and building Smith Hall, Evans and other staff members surveyed
current students and toured new residence halls across the country to incorporate
the best trends in new construction and campus life.

Ultimately, it was decided that students would live in an environment of “clusters,”
in which two double rooms and one single room share a common bathroom. Designers
took the step of making bathrooms accessible through the hallway to increase
interaction among students and to make it easier for the bathrooms to be cleaned by
Housing staff.

Among the building’s other important features:

– Security: The new hall offers state-of-the-art security, including cameras at
building entrances, card-access entry and alarms detecting doors that have been
propped open.

– Focus on academics: The first floor has classrooms for UW-Madison courses, a
tutoring room and advising offices. Two study rooms are located on each residential
floor, and a study room also can be found on the first floor.

– Enhanced room controls: Residents can adjust each room’s temperature.

– Kitchens:  A kitchen is located on every floor for resident use.

– Connections to campus: A newly constructed bike path and pedestrian mall,
including a tunnel under nearby train tracks, connects the southernmost residence
hall to campus.

Smith was the one of the most-requested residence halls for 2006-07. Students who
were selected in the random lottery for assignment in Smith Hall will pay an
additional $750 over the double-room rate.

Oscar J. Boldt Construction Co. managed the project.