Woods Creek East renovations beginning after commencement

With the renovations to part of Woods Creek continuing this summer, many students wonder why only some apartments are improving


Gus Cross, Contributing Writer

The Woods Creek Apartment complex is facing its second round of renovations this summer, this time with work being done on the Woods Creek East building.

The University Board of Trustees approved funds up to $10 million for the renovation project that will begin the day after the Undergraduate Class of 2018 Commencement. The project encompasses future renovations for the West building next summer and the exterior of all three buildings.

The renovations will primarily be focused on the interior. The largest component of the interior renovations will be “a new outside fresh air system” to help with air quality, said Brian Connolly, a university capital projects director. Washers and dryers will be placed in every unit, instead of one common laundry room for the building. Also, the furniture will be updated, and the kitchens will be renovated.

The exterior of all three buildings will also be improved as well. The exterior renovations will primarily consist of replacing the wooden panels with concrete ones. The exposed concrete will also be touched up and painted.

“It will give it a nice, clean, crisper look,” Connolly said.

The Woods Creek Apartments were first used after construction finished in 1975. Despite small maintenance updates and the occasional replacement of flooring, Connolly said the buildings have not been renovated since their construction.

Woods Creek is best known for being the last place most students want to live on campus. Andrew Agrippina, ‘19, said this is due to the “bad rap” Woods Creek gets.

“A lot of bugs, a lot of mold,” said Madeleine Geno, ‘20, reciting a list of things she heard about Woods Creek before moving in. “I heard that every time you walked into the building, there was a different scent.”

Geno said she and her apartment mates have experienced most of the stories she had previously heard.

“Every single one of our rooms has gone through like a mold phase,” she said. “One of our roommates, Erin [Dringman, ‘20], had mold growing on the side of her bed.”

Geno said during the winter, she would frequently shake out her sweaters before wearing them to make sure they were not any stinkbugs. But she said as a whole, the experience was not awful.

“It honestly hasn’t been bad,” Geno said. “I do like living with roommates. Creating your own apartment together is a fun experience.”

Agrippina, who lived in the Woods Creek Apartment during both his sophomore and junior years as a Upper-Division Community Assistant, said he hasn’t had a poor experience.

“It was fine for what it was, but not much in the way of common room,” he said. “I really appreciated the proximity to everything and had no problems with my apartment.”

Dean of Student Affairs Sidney Evans said original renovations to Woods Creek began with a single apartment in the bottom of the West building in an attempt to see if the renovations would “make Woods Creek decent.”

“Frankly, a lot of us [in Student Affairs] were skeptical,” she said. “So, we did that one as a sample.”

The Student Affairs office was happy with the renovated apartment’s look and received approval to renovate the Central building two summers ago. After good responses from students about the renovated apartments, Evans and others in her office felt the renovations were worth the money and decided to renovate East and West in a similar fashion.

Evans said her office felt that renovating the apartments was the only route they could pursue.

“It would be very expensive to take Woods Creek down,” she said.

Specific changes to the apartments will include new flooring, newly painted walls and ceiling fans in every bedroom and the common area. The renovated kitchens will include breakfast counters, updated appliances and the addition of dishwashers.

The size of the apartments, however, will not change. This posed a logistical problem to installing washers and dryers into the already cramped apartments. Connolly said a small portion will be taken out of the largest bedroom in each apartment in order to create space for the washer and dryer.

Original plans were made for the East and West buildings to be renovated at the same time, but capital projects managers like Connolly feared the renovations would not be completed in time.

“It was too risky,” Connolly said. “There is a lot of construction going on across the state right now, so resources are scarce.”

For now, this means residents of the West building will not be benefiting from the renovations. The Board has already approved the funding to renovate the West building next summer. It will undergo the same renovations as the East building.

Evans said that once the building renovations are complete, there are plans to renovate the outside area behind the buildings. This could potentially include a pergola, a patio and a fire pit.

“[We want to] terrace it a little more, so that it is more of a usable space, a social space outdoors,” she said.

The Doremus Gymnasium will also undergo renovations this summer, and the Warner Center will be torn down and rebuilt on the same site, Evans said.