Correction appended: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated which apartment buildings may be used to house undergraduate students after the renovations.
A handful of Northwood Community Apartments residents unexpectedly found out they will have to find a new place to live come next April.
Some residents in Northwood I, II and III received an e-mail this week notifying them that they will be need to vacate their apartments by the end of April 2012 due to construction to the buildings. After moving out, they will have to find a new residence in another Northwood building, if they choose, since the other apartments will be reserved for freshmen.
A day after receiving the e-mail, the residents met to express their concerns and disappointment at a public forum organized by University Housing at the Northwood Community Center on Tuesday.
Construction on the Northwood buildings are expected to occur between May and August 2012.
The updates to the Northwood apartments are separate from University Housing’s Services’ Residence Life Initiatives, which includes the recent renovations of Mosher-Jordan Residence Hall and Stockwell Residence Hall and the construction of North Quad Residential and Academic Complex, as well the current renovations to Couzens Residence Hall and next year’s revamp of Alice Lloyd Residence Hall.
University Housing spokesman Peter Logan said in an interview after the meeting that the updates to the apartments will include boiler replacements and the installation of new fire safety systems. The renovations are necessary since the apartments were constructed more than 50 years ago, he said.
“The boilers for Northwood I, II and III are near their life’s end,” Logan said. “So in looking at the timing of this, we thought that we really shouldn’t put off the replacement of the boilers any longer than we need to.”
Logan said it was decided it would be good to coincide the timing of the fire safety system update with the boiler replacements.
But once the renovations are completed, current residents of Northwood I and II won’t be able to move back into their apartments since University Housing is giving priority to undergraduates, Logan said.
“We anticipate that we’ll probably need spaces in Northwood I and II for undergraduate students,” Logan said. “We’ve already moved some undergraduate students in the (Northwood apartments) I and II for this year. So that’s the thrust of the matter, right now.”
As a result, University Housing will offer current residents who will be staying in Northwood after April 30, 2012 a similar apartment in Northwood IV or V, Logan said.
Logan said he is “pretty confident,” based on past patterns, that there will be enough spaces for all the students who choose to be moved to Northwood IV and V after April 2012.
Several students at Tuesday’s meeting expressed concerns with their possible relocation to Northwood IV or V apartments, with most of the apprehensions relating to the apartments being catered to families, more expensive and less accessible to University buses than the other apartment buildings.
“Northwood IV and V are much more like family-oriented houses, with different rooms inside, so that might also cause problems because … many people who want to live with one bedroom won’t be able to find one because most of the facilities…are townhouses,” one Northwood resident, who will be affected by the relocation, said during the meeting.
For 2010-2011, an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment costs $896 in Northwood I, between $767 and $837 in Northwood II and $896 or $950 with air conditioning in Northwood IV and V, according to the University Housing website. An unfurnished two-bedroom apartment in Northwood I costs $1,004 per month, $968 in Northwood II and $1,086 or $1,146 in Northwood IV and V.
University Housing is addressing these concerns by offering an individual adviser to every student who wants to stay, Logan said. The adviser would help students find an apartment similar in style and rent to their current apartments, he said.
During the meeting, some students said they would have been willing to stay in their apartments and bear the disturbances of the three-month construction updates rather than abandon their apartments after April 2012.
However, Logan said, letting students remain in their housing unit during a repair period can be problematic. He said that, in this case, it would be especially inconvenient for residents if they remained in the building since work will be done in every apartment.
“The experience was students thought it very disruptive, very unpleasant. It disturbs study, it disturbs their day-to-day routines,” Logan said. “ … There is dust, there is noise and of course there is the intrusion into the apartment space.”