University of Michigan Investigates Premature Roof Failure of Newest Residential Building

By: 
Contributor
As the University of Michigan welcomes students back to campus for the new academic year, an investigation continues into the cause of the North Quadrangle building’s premature roof failure.
 
New metal roofs are expected to last at least 50 years; however, approximately six years into the warranty, the building has needed 55,000 square feet of roofing replaced. This project has cost $11 million to repair over the past year and a half.
 
“The expected life for the roof was greater than 50 years,” said University of Michigan spokesperson Kim Broekhuizen. “This was covered by a warranty and the university is pursuing all potentially responsible parties.”
 
The 360,000-square-foot North Quadrangle building first opened in 2010 as a combination of residential spaces and classrooms. Also in the building are offices for the School of Information, Communication Studies, Screen Arts and Cultures, the Language Resource Center, the Sweetland Writing Center, and a 180-seat dining hall.
 
The residential floors house 450 students and won the facility the title of being one of the 30 most luxurious student housing buildings in America by Best College Values. Making the list at number 17, the North Quad boasts amenities like a TV studio, lounges on every floor, conference rooms with high-tech equipment, bike routes, and learning communities. The dining hall on the first floor also reached “gold status” for serving exotic fare like shark.
 
Costing $175 million to construct, the North Quad became the university’s first new residence hall since 1967. Though it originally garnered a reputation for being one of the most luxurious student housing buildings in the country, it quickly became known for its malfunctions. In 2013, 32 students were displaced after approximately 2,600 gallons of water flooded parts of the first four floors.
 
The University of Michigan is funding the repairs using investment proceeds. School officials are “currently investigating to determine the cause(s) of the roof failure.”
 
As students moved back onto campus last week, the most recent replacement of 30,000 square feet of roofing on the north wing of the building was still a work in progress.
 

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