Shay Trotter / Lantern reporter
An expected $1.25 million renovation of Neilwood Gables’ plumbing system has caused Ohio State to remove the building from the available housing options for the 2013-2014 academic year.
“We’ve taken it offline for people to renew and to go there,” said Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs. “We may be able to use it, but we just can’t guarantee. We can’t accommodate a request now for someone who says they want to live in Neilwood Gables.”
Although maintenance has been ongoing for the last few years, Isaacs said the bulk of the 89-year-old building’s original piping still remains. Now there are plans to replace the risers, vertical pipes that run the length of the building, and riser valves of the plumbing system for $1.2 million and $50,000, respectively.
The residence hall has also undergone maintenance in other areas, including electrical upgrades in 1998 and 2002 and a fire alarm replacement, Isaacs said. Minor electrical problems will also be addressed when the building is closed.
“As those who have or live in old houses know, there is work that constantly needs to be done on old buildings,” Isaacs said.
While there is no definitive time span for the renovations, an early completion could mean Neilwood Gables will still be used in some way.
“Depending on how the time length of the project goes … we may be able to use (the building) for other ways in the fall,” Isaacs said.
Although the residence hall currently houses 104 students, the building is not at full capacity.
“The building has limited occupancy this year as it was used for overflow,” said Jen Shields, the hall director of Neilwood Gables, in an email. “Most students are not returning from last year and seeing as we have new housing options and Neilwood Gables needs some updating, I think it is a great time to do so.”
Steeb-Smith Hall is expected to open for Fall Semester after being closed for almost a year for renovations. The building is supposed to house more than 1,000 residents. Siebert Hall has also been closed for renovations.
Shields said she has not heard any Neilwood Gables residents express concern that they will be unable to return to the building in the fall.
Kelsey Noonan, a third-year in human development and family sciences, is currently living in Neilwood Gables for a second year. Noonan said during her time living in the building she has dealt with unwanted insects like cockroaches and centipedes, a minor electrical problem and a leak in the corner of her room.
Noonan said the problems she’s had with the building do not make the residence hall renovations surprising.
“I’m not that surprised that it’s closing,” she said. “I mean, it is old. It is an old building and it definitely shows.”
Brooklyn Wagner, Noonan’s roommate and a third-year in animal science, agreed.
“It’s nice ’cause it’s like an apartment style on campus, but at the same time it’s just really, really old,” Wagner said. “It needs to be updated.”