The University of Wisconsin recently announced plans to renovate housing for graduate students, all of whom will have to move out before the project begins in 2014.
UW Housing Director Paul Evans said 144 apartments are scheduled to begin construction in July 2014. The UW-owned apartments, called University Houses, are located adjacent to Eagle Heights to the West of campus and are largely inhabited by graduate students, medical students, students with families and UW graduates doing research on campus.
The University Houses were built in the 1940s and are due for renovations, Evans said.
Evans said UW Housing will offer residents of University Houses the opportunity to be transferred to other apartments in the Eagle Heights area. Eagles Heights is comprised of 1,050 apartments and is relatively younger than University Houses, UW Housing Assistant Director Kelly Ignatoski said.
Ignatoski said letters were sent to University Houses tenants last week to inform them of the renovation plans.
“We will offer options, which is why we’re letting them know so they can plan ahead of time,” Ignatoski said.
The renovations will include refurbishing the kitchens, floors and bathrooms, and updates to the electricity and plumbing systems.
Evans said the renovations will take place during the 2014-15 academic year and will hopefully be finished by March 2015. Plans for the renovations to take place in stages were discussed, but Evans said finishing the project in one year would benefit student residents more.
“The [tenants] that are living there just prior to the start of the project will have to move, and we understand that’s a very inconvenient thing to have happen,” Evans said. “But if we did it in stages, it would be a lot more disruptive to people living next to the construction. In the end, I think this is probably better for the students.”
Evans also said conversations with UW architects and contractors suggested that finishing the renovations in a year would reduce costs, as opposed to conducting the renovations in stages, which could take four years. The renovations will cost approximately $14 to $15 million.
Both of the UW-owned Eagle Heights and Harvey Street communities were similarly renovated between 1986 and 2003, Ignatoski said.
The residents will likely not move back once the construction is done, and new graduate students will take their place in the renovated buildings, Evans said.
“I wouldn’t guess that the majority of them would move back, because it’s obviously not easy to move a family,” Evans said.
Evans said the last renovations made to the interior of the University Houses involved replacing the units’ windows more than 15 years ago. Updates to the apartments’ exterior infrastructures, including water, heat and electric connections, have been installed in recent years.