Renovation Calhoun Hall

A rendering of the finished renovation of Calhoun Hall. Construction is expected to be completed December 2022.

Editor’s note: The magazine version of this story said the renovated Calhoun Hall will be ready for students to move in by the end of December 2022. That story relied on previous reporting and is incorrect. This story contains the correct date. 

A multimillion-dollar renovation of the University of Cincinnati’s (UC) Calhoun Hall is underway. Construction on the 14-story, high-rise residence hall’s renovation was 4% complete as of June 22, according to a capital projects report obtained by The News Record. 

Messer Construction, the construction manager contracted by the university, “mobilized on-site” and began the demolition of hardscape and the building’s interior, the report states.

Interior demolition started at the top of the 173,000-square-foot building proceeding downward. 

“Calhoun Hall will be completely gutted and renovated, similar to the recently completed renovations of Scioto and Morgens Halls,” the report reads. “The renovation will include wholesale upgrades of the dorm rooms, public spaces, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as the building façade and enhancements to the immediate site.” 

Those upgrades include a new common lounge, study, laundry and kitchen space, as well as suite-style dorms and private restrooms. 

Students will have access to social collaboration nodes on each floor, in addition to private team huddle rooms and collaborative community space in the residence hall’s lobby.

Once it is complete, Calhoun Hall will house a total of 822 beds, six more than it did previously, on same-gender floors.

In August 2020, UC’s Board of Trustees approved the allocation of $80.4 million toward the renovation of Calhoun Hall. 

The residence hall has not undergone any significant renovations since it opened in 1967, UC’s Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Bob Ambach told the board last year. Ambach said at the time that the money will come from a mix of repair and replacement reserves and the issuance of long-term debt.

UC officials had previously speculated about the need to renovate the aging structure, but there was no confirmation that a project was in the works until last year. 

Construction on the project began in May. Calhoun Hall will be ready in summer 2023, with Siddall Hall then going offline for renovations pending approval from trustees, according to university spokesperson M.B. Reilly.

Despite worries that the COVID-19 pandemic would lower enrollment last fall, the university managed to break its enrollment record for the eighth consecutive year. As students returned to campus for the first time since the pandemic began, residence halls underwent a variety of changes to accommodate social distancing and other pandemic protocols. 

According to university data, 65% percent of first-year students lived in housing owned by or affiliated with the university in fall 2020. That is down from the 82% of first-year students who lived in university housing in fall 2019. 

Overall, university housing accommodated 17% of undergraduates in fall 2020, the data shows. Again, that is down from 24% of undergraduates in fall 2019. It is unclear whether the number of students living in university housing will rebound to pre-pandemic levels this semester.