In an email to the student body on Monday afternoon, Vice President for Campus Operations James Gray gave updates on various campus projects, including renovations to Usen Castle and Sherman Dining Hall.

Gray wrote that Usen Castle “is showing its age and … [has] reached a point where maintaining the status quo is not practical or sustainable for the long run.” A Castle Advisory Group of students, faculty, staff and board members will assess the Castle and decide on any future plans.

In an email sent out last December, Gray acknowledged that some structural renovations might be necessary and that the University would be conducting a survey to determine what improvements would be necessary. The survey results, however, which came out in February, concluded that while the building clearly needed repairs, it was still safe for students to live in, which Gray confirmed in an email to the Justice on Feb. 6. The University has had to contend with safety issues in the Castle in the past, including problems with the building’s structural integrity. Justice articles from February 2010 and February 2011 give reports of leaking roofs that left a great deal of water damage in multiple rooms.

In an email to the Justice yesterday, Executive Director for Integrated Media Bill Schaller wrote, “Until we have the experts’ assessment (from a structural engineer, architect and project manager), it is impossible to state with certainty what the future holds for the Castle. Once we have that analysis, we will be able to make some decisions about our next steps.”

Gray’s email to the community also touched on renovations to Sherman Dining Hall, confirming that they will be completed in October.

Facilities also made safety updates to the Mandel Humanities quad, including installating fire-safety and window systems to the Rabb School of Continuing Studies and Golding Judaic Center, which is part of a larger five-year plan to install the same improvements to other buildings in Mandel quad, Gray said.

As part of the University’s initiative to increase energy efficiency, facilities also replaced all of the washers and dryers in the residence halls in favor of newer machines meant to conserve water and lower energy consumption, the email read.

The last campus improvement outlined in Gray’s email was the relocation of the Prospect Street art studios to the Epstein building. This move will not only make studio art classes more convenient, Gray said, but also “the quality of the studios for students and visiting artists will also be upgraded dramatically.”