Renovations complete on Mark Twain Hall, dining facility

Renovations include central air conditioning, dual flush toilets and a rebranded dining hall.
Campus Dining Services serves a variety of sandwich samples at the Grand Opening of the newly renovated Mark Twain Hall and it's accompanying dining hall, The Mark on 5th, on Wednesday. ResLife staff also led tours of the hall for the event's attendees.

The new Mark Twain Hall and The MARK on 5th Street dining facility will open their doors to incoming students Aug. 12.

The residence hall consists of seven stories and 380 beds. It returns to service with upgraded electrical facilities and air conditioning systems. Director of Residential Life Frankie Minor said the bathrooms in the hall have also been renovated to be more environmentally friendly.

“Basically the process was to renovate the facility to meet the needs of students today and in the future and deal with a variety of existing challenges such as building envelope issues, water intrusion, etc.,” Minor said.

The MARK on 5th Street, previously known as the Mark Twain Market, was also renovated.

Director of Campus Dining Services Julaine Kiehn said the dining hall is now equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows and better seating for students.

Its menu has also been expanded.

“The feature item is the deli with its freshly-baked bread and expanded sandwich offerings,” she said.

Mark Twain’s renovations were a part of a residential life master plan to upgrade all residence halls and add more housing capacity on campus.

“In essence, this was a plan that has been developed beginning back in 1997 and finalized in 2001,” Minor said. “Since 2004, we’ve built 11 new residence halls and renovated nine.”

As part of the master plan, Johnston Hall is currently closed for renovation and will reopen in fall 2014. Wolpers Hall will be the next residence hall to undergo renovations, which are set to begin January 2014.

The reception to the changes has been positive, Minor said.

“Mark Twain is going to be a good time,” said incoming-freshman Max Reter, who will be living in Mark Twain this year. “It is a brand new building, it’s going to have great people and it has a great location on campus. It’s close to some frat houses and not too far away from my classes.”

While Reter has yet to see the interior of the new residence hall, ResLife plans on giving residents of Mark Twain and the entire campus a sneak peek.

“We’re producing a video this week to give Mark Twain residents a look into the dorm since they couldn’t during the summer,” Minor said. “We don’t just build these for the residents, but for the entire campus. We want the university to see this as a resource.”

With move-in day approaching for students, Minor is looking forward to Mark Twain’s rebirth.

“I’m happy to see Mark Twain reopen,” Minor said. “It’s a great facility and students are going to enjoy it.”

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