UND makes adjustment to redo its freshmen dorms

Though originally planned for the summer, UND decided against immediate renovations of Selke and Noren halls, Mike Pieper, associate vice president of facilities at UND, said.

Mindy and Ashley Vollmer move into a dorm room at UND's McVey Hall in 2019. Joe Bowen/Grand Forks Herald.

UND is making changes for its planned redo of freshmen dorms this summer.

Though originally planned for the summer, UND decided against immediate renovations of Selke and Noren halls, said Mike Pieper, associate vice president of facilities at UND.

The updates are planned near the Wilkerson Commons dining hall because it’s a popular spot for students, Pieper said.

McVey and West halls would come down this summer under the plans, with McVey likely coming down first, Pieper said. The university also hopes to do renovations of Brannon Hall this summer.

Pieper said university officials discussed enrollment and student preferences and decided to move forward with the plans for a new West Hall and a new McVey Hall as quickly as they could. He said the university was already making investments in an updated Brannon Hall, so leaders decided to move forward with that project as well.


“Then we would take a short pause, and we would look to see what the students' preferences are,” he said. “Now, they would be able to look and see and choose between new buildings, McVey and West. They would be able to look at a remodeled Brannon, and they would able to look at untouched Noren and Selke.”

A market analysis said that with the updates, up to 200 more freshmen would likely consider staying in the dorms on that side of campus for their sophomore year, Pieper said. The university could then see what the waitlist or demand for the newly constructed halls would be and then later make a decision on Selke and Noren halls for other updates.

The pause allows the university to look at its bed count and compare it to enrollment trends in a couple of years. That data will help university officials decide if they should move forward with an extensive renovation of Noren and Selke halls or if they should tear down the residence halls entirely and build new ones sized to the university’s expected enrollment, Pieper said.

The updated plans would also be cheaper, Pieper said. Original plans, which included extensive remodels of Noren, Selke and Brannon halls and a new McVey and West, would have cost around $120 to $155 million for initial construction costs and capital rates. The new plan comes in cheaper at around $90 million for construction costs with a capital raise in the $120 million range.

The university still needs approval for the project from the State Board of Higher Education, but Pieper said the university will have conversations with the North Dakota University System office and the board in the coming weeks.

But the university hopes to get moving on the project this summer with some beds coming open in 2022, and everything coming open by August 2023, Pieper said.

In addition to the work around the residence halls, UND’s campus will have another busy construction season. Work will be finishing on the new Memorial Union, which likely will open this summer. Work will also continue on the new Nistler College of Business & Public Administration, which is set to open the summer of 2022.

The university recently tore down Memorial Stadium. In its place, construction will begin on the Memorial Stadium Village, a public-private partnership that will feature athletics office space on the first floor and housing units on the upper floors. It is expected to open in summer 2022.

Sydney Mook has been the managing editor at the Herald since April 2021. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook has been with the Herald since May 2018 and was first hired as the Herald's higher education reporter where she covered UND and other happenings in state higher education. She was later promoted to community editor in 2019.

For story pitches contact her at or call her at 701-780-1134.
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