University renovates Johnson Hall for second summer in a row

Cyrus Nuval
Staff Writer

The oldest residence hall at VCU is undergoing renovations in preparation for the upcoming school year.

The renovations at Johnson Hall primarily involve sanitation and plumbing, according to Alison Patel, assistant director of VCU’s Department of Residential Life and Housing. Cosmetic updates are also slated for the residence hall, which was also renovated last summer, Patel said.

“We were able to renovate the second- and third-floor bathrooms last summer, while also renovating the first floor of the building in order to create a more welcoming space,” Patel said.

Johnson Hall was originally an apartment building built in 1913. It was purchased by the Richmond Professional Institute during the 1950s to be refurbished into a residence hall. VCU maintained ownership when the school changed its name from RPI.

Since its purchase, Johnson Hall has gone through at least six major renovations, Patel said.

“It took two renovations to turn the building from apartments into a residence hall. When the building was first built, each floor housed four large apartments,” Patel said. “One renovation in the 1980’s changed the flooring from wood to vinyl tile … air conditioning was added to the building in 2004.”

Brian Ohlinger, associate vice president of the Facilities Management Department, said there is very little of the building’s original interior left.

“The only visible evidence of the original interior are the large round pillars in the main lobby,” he said.

Today, Johnson Hall houses 527 students on 11 of its 12 floors.

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