Aiming to improve the comfort level of graduate facilities, officials are planning a series of renovations to Sansom Place East and Sansom Place West -- formerly known as Graduate Towers A and B -- that may begin as early as next summer. The project may include upgrading kitchens, furnishings and other elements of the apartments -- as well as renovating heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, Associate Vice President for Campus Services Larry Moneta said. "I'm hoping we can begin to deal with both the environmental issues? and the cosmetics," Moneta said. "The earliest dollars spent will focus on resident comfort." Officials stressed that the project is still in the preliminary planning stages and they do not yet know how much the project will cost or how long it will take. Though it is being treated separately, Moneta said it is an extension of the University's $300 million dorm and dining overhaul. "I hope to be doing something in there by next summer," Moneta said. The apartment-style graduate residences, located on the 3600 block of Chestnut Street, have long been criticized by graduate students for being a housing option more expensive than they are worth. Moneta said the project was spurred partly from administrators who recognized that the residences "were old and tired" and partly due to a push from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly to improve graduate student housing on campus. GAPSA conducted a survey of 301 graduate students last semester in which many said that the cost of on-campus graduate housing was excessive for the space and quality of living provided. "The GAPSA survey reinforced what we knew," Moneta said. GAPSA chairperson Kendra Nicholson said that she was pleased that officials had responded positively to GAPSA's requests. "I think it's great that the administration is taking our survey seriously," the second-year Social Work graduate student said. "I'm very excited about it." Architecture firm Ewing Cole Cherry Brott -- the same firm handling renovations to the Quadrangle -- conducted a study of the buildings over the summer to determine "what it's going to take to bring the buildings into the 21st century," Moneta said. Administrators are now working with the firm to develop plans for the renovations, which will likely be designed in a way to allow the buildings to remain open during construction. Planning for the Sansom Place renovations will include consultation with GAPSA and other members of the graduate student community. A consulting committee should be in place by the spring, Moneta said. "We will do exactly with Sansom Place what we have done with undergraduate residences," he added. Moneta also stressed that the project was not motivated by occupancy problems or "dangerous conditions" in the buildings, saying that "the normal aging process" requires a face-lift every so often.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.