The first step in meeting Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self's request for better student-athlete housing will begin this summer with the renovation of Tower A at Jayhawker Towers.
The $8.1 million renovation will begin when the spring semester ends - at the request of the athletics department, rather than on its original timetable. The tower will re-open in August 2009, and work will start soon thereafter by the renovation of Tower B.
"(Athletics) is expediting plans we already had in place," said Diana Robertson, KU's director of student housing. "This was a renovation that was planned for next year, but now we're starting it this summer."
The $8.1 million will come from state-issued bonds and then be repaid by higher fees charged to students living in the renovated buildings. Robertson said no physical changes were planned to the buildings, but rather a host of aesthetic and infrastructure improvements to the 41-year-old buildings.
Among planned upgrades are dry wall on some surfaces that are currently brick, new appliances, new furniture, upgraded plumbing and data lines.
Of course, because the renovations are happening sooner than originally was planned, 180 students will find themselves living somewhere other than where they expected.
The university said it was in the beginning stages of notifying students that Tower A would be closed for the 2008-09 academic year and minimizing the disruption that would cause.
Those individuals, largely graduate students, will be accommodated in other towers.
"Every returning student who wanted to live with us in Jayhawker Towers will live with us in Jayhawker Towers," Robertson said.