Summer residence renovations postponed

Renovations to three residence buildings constructed for the 1988 Winter Olympics have been delayed, much to the disappointment of students.

Renovations to Brewster, Castle and Norquay Halls were planned for this summer, but have been postponed for at least a year due to a combination of factors including difficulty hiring a contractor and an extended government procedure to approve capital expenses, according to Residence Services director Joel Lynn.

Residence Students’ Association president Allan Bailey said he is disappointed with the delay to renovations he believes are long overdue.

“It’s a frustration point for a lot of people,” said Bailey, noting he was informed of the delay Fri., March 9, just after he told the Gauntlet that renovations were indeed going ahead this summer. “The buildings are reaching a point where they are less and less livable.”

Bailey noted a growing list of issues with the buildings, including infrastructure problems, poor esthetics and lighting.

A maintenance assessment of the buildings conducted last year indicated facility conditions index scores were as high as 48 out of 100, where a score above 50 garners a recommendation to condemn the building.

Despite the high facility conditions index scores, Lynn said the buildings are still livable.

“The university is confident that the buildings are very safe,” said Lynn. “The university takes [safety] recommendations very seriously.”

Lynn said the renovations will include both building infrastructure, like replacing windows, roofs and heating systems, as well as esthetics including new carpet, paint and lighting.

Though Lynn said the renovations will likely go ahead next summer, he would not provide a guarantee or cost estimate.

“At this point we’re waiting for a complete report [from the contractors],” said Lynn.

The only upside to the delayed renovations is that students will pay existing rates for an additional year, noted Bailey. Rent in Brewster, Castle and Glacier is the least expensive of any on-campus apartment at $506.86 per month for fall and winter 2007/08.

“[Rent] won’t be up to the proposed level,” said Bailey. “They were going to [raise] it 15 per cent, but now they’re going up one to three per cent.”

Renovations to Glacier and Olympus Halls planned for summer 2008 have also been pushed back and will likely take place in the summer of 2009, said Lynn.

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