Utilizing the same funds as the renovations to Hester College, and in the building’s shadow, numerous improvements continue for the unoccupied homes in College Courts.
Facilities Management has been upgrading different aspects of the housing in the area since 2010. In the last four years, the University has replaced the heating and air units, installed new smoke alarms, replaced roofs and repaved all the parking lots and drives.
Continuing since August, as part of this ongoing project, Facilities Management has begun to replace the roofing on the College Courts houses numbers 900-1200 scheduled to be complete by Oct. 15.
Kim Oatman, chief officer of Facilities Management, said while a number of interior changes are scheduled to be made to the College Courts homes as well, these changes can only be completed once the buildings are unoccupied.
The remaining work, which totals approximately $1.5 million, includes window replacements, soffit repairs, stair repairs, hot water heater replacements, the installation of sprinkler systems and asbestos abatement and floor replacement in some units.
“Most of this work will be done over breaks in the coming year, with the majority being done next summer,” Oatman said. “Some of the work that will be done during the semester will be the exterior soffit work and the hot water heater replacements.”
The funds for this project, like the renovations for Hester, were made possible from money allocated from an agency bond Facilities Management received in March, the funding being the result of Gov. Steve Beshear signing House Bill 7 in February which allows a university to self-fund projects on its campuses.
Murray received $15.4 million dollars as a result of this signing, $4.9 million of which was set aside for assorted facilities improvements, which include those made to College Courts this summer and $590,000 of which was specifically to be used in the installation of new sprinkler systems.
Installation of the College Court’s new sprinkler system was originally scheduled to begin this summer and be completed in phases throughout the academic year.
However, the project was delayed due to the lack of engineering plans.
Oatman said the engineering plans proved to be more complex and took longer to be drawn up, but have since been completed and that their installation will begin this summer.
He said the engineers did not receive approval to proceed with the designing until March as they were waiting for approval of the bond.
Oatman said he is very pleased with the renovations they have managed to make thus far.
He said the process is relatively slow because they has not shut down College Courts as was necessary for the renovating of Hester College.
Renovations to College Courts will continue periodically throughout the year as Facilities Management have more access to the homes’ interiors with the bulk of these changes still scheduled for the summer.
Story by Ben Manhanke, Assistant News Editor