Mike Krings/University Relations

Kip Grosshans, associate director of student housing, displays a loft and desk in one of the apartments in Jayhawker Tower A. The building underwent a complete renovation and is open to students once again.

Newly renovated Jayhawker Tower opens

Tower A features more green initiatives, new infrastructure

One may not notice in passing the Jayhawker Towers apartments, but Tower A is practically a new building.

Tower A, part of an apartment complex that has provided on-campus housing for more than 40 years, has undergone an extensive renovation and is housing students once again this semester.

The renovation of Tower A is part of a $10 million project that will also upgrade Tower D. Work on Tower D will begin later this fall. Kip Grosshans, associate director of student housing, said the improvements have not only made the renovated apartments a nicer place to live, they have significantly upgraded the building’s infrastructure, which will extend its lifespan, as a more environmentally responsible housing option.

Green improvements are evident throughout. For example, a new laundry facility features Energy Star rated appliances and a study area, 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled carpet, compact fluorescent lights, motion sensors that turn off lights when no one is in the room and programmable thermostats. The basement also houses a recycling center.

Many energy-saving features have been installed throughout the building. All apartments have new energy efficient, double pane windows as well as digital thermostats and compact fluorescent lighting.

Tower A has 72 two-bedroom apartments, some designed for four residents and others for two. Three new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant apartments have been created in the building’s first floor. All rooms come with a loft bed, desk and dresser for each resident. Additionally, the custom kitchen and bath cabinetry features solid-surface countertops to go along with all new kitchen appliances —dishwasher, disposal, stove and refrigerator.

Infrastructure is the most expensive item among the list of upgrades. Students will have wireless Internet access, lighting, carpeting and new elevators. Less obvious to Tower A residents will be all new plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems.

Grosshans said student housing staff did most of the demolition and preparation work to save money wherever possible. Student housing also directly purchased many fixtures, such as energy efficient windows and project supplies. He estimates the measures reduced the amount that will be borrowed and repaid by about $2 million.

Rates in the renovated, co-ed tower are still very affordable compared to private housing rates in the community, even after the renovations, Grosshans said.

“It’s the last great real estate value in Lawrence,” he said with a laugh.

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