Repairs of Residential Village stairways are now in progress

For the last several years, the steps in Norse Hall and Woodcrest apartments have crumbled under student’s’ feet, causing periodic closings of the breezeways and annoyance among students.

University Housing director Todd Duncan said this has been a problem for many years.

“It is a historic problem,” Duncan said.

The steps are constructed with concrete treads, which are fragile and weather poorly, said Henry Keene, university architect.

Most of the steps are original from when the buildings were constructed in 1992, but Keene said the problem arose after the dorms had been standing for several years.

“It didn’t develop immediately upon occupancy of the residence halls, but it has been going on for a number of years,” Keene said.

Around two to four steps per month have to be roped off for a half-hour of repairs, Duncan said. While the problem isn’t major, it does cause some inconvenience said Norse Hall resident Beth Lorenz.

“It’s kind of annoying,” Lorenz said. “I actually stepped on one once, and it collapsed under my foot.”

The university is in the process of hiring a contractor who will bid at the end of the month for state funding to replace the steps with a steel grate that will better withstand the elements. Some steps in Woodcrest have already been replaced with the new grates.

The project for the breezeway encompasses the entire residential village.

Keene said the construction project to repair the steps could last nine months, but no students will be required to move nor will any dorms be out of commission.

No estimates have been made on the budget for the breezeway renovations, Keene said.

In addition, the renovations include replacing wooden supports erected in the breezeways of Norse Hall with something more permanent to prevent any shifting in the the structure.

Keene said the wood was deteriorating a little bit, but nothing to be concerned about.

“They(wooden supports) have the potential to last a long time,” Keene said.

Duncan assured everyone that the Residential Village is in sound condition.

“The building is not going to fall down,” Duncan said. “I think they are in good shape. It is like any human being. It will have aches and pains.”