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Sunday, August 16, 2009

KU unveils renovated Jayhawker Towers

Kansas University sophomore Sarah Hicks, Bennington, searches Friday for a spot to hang her poster of country music star Taylor Swift with her younger brother Josh Hicks, 16, in Tower A of Jayhawker Towers Apartments. Renovations to Tower A involve new bedroom fixtures, kitchen appliances and kitchen fixtures.

Kansas University sophomore Sarah Hicks, Bennington, searches Friday for a spot to hang her poster of country music star Taylor Swift with her younger brother Josh Hicks, 16, in Tower A of Jayhawker Towers Apartments. Renovations to Tower A involve new bedroom fixtures, kitchen appliances and kitchen fixtures.

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As cars, pickup trucks and U-Hauls pulled up to Jayhawker Towers on Friday crammed with furniture and other belongings, Stephanie Chase took a break from moving to look at her newly renovated apartment.

“It was really, like, ’70s-looking before,” the junior from Atchison said. “Now, it’s really sleek-looking.”

The $8 million worth of renovations to Tower A — home to many student-athletes — has been completed for this semester after being expedited at the request of Kansas Athletics and basketball coach Bill Self.

Chase, like many moving in on Friday, said she enjoyed the on-campus location of the more than 40-year-old buildings and had many friends moving in, too. The renovations played a role in their decision to locate there, she said.

“I just like how open and homey it feels,” she said.

Diana Robertson, KU’s director of student housing, said the cost of the renovations will be paid for with higher fees collected from the residents living in the renovated space.

Living in a newly renovated area costs about $800 more for a person living in a four-person room and nearly $1,400 more for a two-person room.

The added costs put the price of living in the building at $3,630 for a four-person apartment per year and $6,388 for a two-person apartment.

There’s some new drywall on some of the old brick walls in the 72 apartments, and the tower now has its own laundry facility, Robertson said. However, much of the renovations will be things residents will never see.

“There’s lots of behind-the-wall stuff,” such as plumbing, wiring and flooring upgrades, Robertson said. The tower also has new energy-efficient windows and heating and cooling, along with a new security system.

Robertson said the department wanted to give students the choice of paying more for more amenities.

“I think students will probably most notice the new kitchens and bathrooms,” Robertson said.

Both areas have received major upgrades; several rooms now feature a kitchen island, along with other appliances.

Brock Templeman, a junior from Overland Park, lived in Tower C last year and said the differences were everywhere. He pointed out new lighting systems that made the dreary-looking rooms from last year stand out more, and said that was just a start.

“We have a dishwasher,” he said, while pointing things out in his new four-person room. “New appliances and even a digital thermostat.”

He most looked forward to the new wireless Internet service, after having to run a cable from the main room to his bedroom last year.

Even the desks are new, and much improved, Templeman said.

“They were tattered and beat up,” he said. “I mean, they were from the ’70s.”

Now that renovations to Tower A are completed, work will begin this semester on renovations to Tower D, Robertson said, with similar scope and costs.

Comments

Waylon Cook 10 years, 5 months ago

Good deal-another step in the direction we want to head! Most on here will bit ch that its just updated.........but every little bit helps!

Scott Smetana 10 years, 5 months ago

After seeing those towers 10 years ago, I was appalled. The picture above has me skeptcal... still have those ugly brick walls with no windows. I wish they would have torn them down and build something VERY nice to show our recruits. As much $$$$$$$ as they make off tickets, license rights, and TV money, don't you think we should have a new athletic dorm??

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 5 months ago

"cars, pick-up trucks, u-hauls"

What, no stretch limo with Oklahoma tags?

NH_JHawk 10 years, 5 months ago

PikesPeak -

After living in those towers 18 years ago, I was appalled. They were a dump even back then! Doesn't look like they've changed a bit either.

KGphoto 10 years, 5 months ago

How about a gallery? I haven't been there in almost 20 years. I'd love to see more.

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I shacked in the Towers (and just about all the dorms, maybe a sorority house or two) ...

I agree with KG, how about a gallery?

I'd love to see what that place looks like now.

Displayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Hard to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear! Lived in both A & D tower when I was at KU in the early 80's They can renovate all they want, but it's still a dump! I remember we had a blacklight on one night, and you could still see peace signs and anti-war slogans from the 70's. I wonder if they ever got rid of that!

Rian Ankerholz 10 years, 5 months ago

I agree with the first post. I prefer to credit the University for making improvements to the Towers. I doubt that there are sufficient funds to improve all of the towers at once, let alone raze them and build something much nicer. To all of you who choose to criticize: You certainly are lucky to live in a place much better than the Towers. Some people aren't as lucky. Perhaps you might consider a donation to the University sufficient to make the improvements you suggest. I lived in two of the towers about 30 years ago. They were somewhat dark, but very satisfactory. The location can't be beat. I hope the new students enjoy the improvements already in place, and I hope more work can be done as funds allow. A photo gallery of the updates would bring back memories!

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