Student Life

Witte Gets Pretty

Illustration of Witte Hall showing new 11th floor and connecting tower

Witte Residence Hall has been refreshed after nearly two and a half years of construction. Illustration by Danielle Lawry

Project cost:

$53 million

Change in square footage:


Change in capacity:

+124 residents,
+3 live-in staff

Witte Residence Hall has gotten a face-lift.

The 55-year-old structure stands refreshed after nearly two and a half years of construction. Completed in August, the renovation included changes such as adding study lounges, a connecting tower, and an 11th floor consisting mainly of resident rooms, as well as updating rooms with new air conditioning, carpeting, and furniture.

Not merely a makeover, the $53 million project has increased the building’s capacity, welcoming an additional 124 students and three added live-in staff members this fall. And rather than starting from the ground up, the renovation plan — derived from a capstone project by former UW engineering students — accommodated residents throughout the process.

“Without [the students’] innovative idea, we would have had to close part of Witte during the renovation,” says Brendon Dybdahl ’98, MBA’04, director of marketing and communications for UW Housing.

By building the central connecting tower and the 11th floor in the first year, the project was able to conduct seamless floor-by-floor renovations during the second year while housing the same number of students as in past years.

Although some floors were updated during the summers, floors five, six, and seven were renovated during the 2018–19 academic year.

To accomplish this, the construction team started on a vacant seventh floor and worked on one floor at a time. Once the seventh floor was complete, students from the sixth floor were assisted in moving up. Then the sixth floor was renovated before the next group of students moved up to allow for improvements on the fifth floor.

“The Witte project was probably one of the most ambitious residence hall renovations ever done at a university while keeping the building occupied throughout the school years,” Dybdahl says. “We’re really proud.”


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