Workers wrapped up their $25 million makeover of the Francisco Torres Residence Hall towers just in time for this year’s freshman inhabitants to test out the building’s new seismic upgrades and dual flush toilets.
Following UCSB’s purchase of Francisco Torres in December 2002, the university shut down the north tower to perform seismic retrofitting and other upgrades to the building, while leaving the south tower open for inhabitance by both UCSB and Santa Barbara City College students. Work on the north tower was completed last March, at which point students living in the south tower moved into the north tower, and work on the south tower started.
Both buildings are now open and available for student occupancy.
In addition to the structural changes, the university also added new facilities, such as a computer lab, a new fitness center and a recreation lounge.
While SBCC students were allowed to live in Francisco Torres before the university bought the property, and they were allowed to stay in the residential hall last year during construction, only UCSB students inhabit the building this year.
Wilfred Brown, executive director of Housing and Residential Services, said the feedback from incoming students and parents has been positive.
“I was out there on move-in day,” he said. “You have to think you did something right when people are saying, ‘Wow.'”
With the space provided by the newly opened hall, UCSB comes one step closer to its goal of housing 35 percent of enrolled students in university-owned housing.
When the 1,323 students that Francisco Torres houses are added to the spaces provided by the university’s seven other residence halls, Brown said UCSB will house about 31 percent of enrolled students.