SIU housing leaders discuss future of east campus towers

SIU housing leaders discuss future of east campus towers
(Source: Giacomo Luca KFVS)
(Source: Giacomo Luca KFVS)

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Administrators at Southern Illinois University Carbondale are making plans for the future that could decide the fate of the university's historic and deteriorating dormitory towers.

"It's part of a series of updates and presentations to the board," Director of University Housing Jon Shaffer said.

Shaffer said the three dormitory towers on the east side of campus have room for 2,300 students and are nearing 50 years old.

Renovations to the current dormitories or building new dormitories were discussed in a recent annual presentation on university housing to the SIU Board of Trustees.

Shaffer said these were just discussions and proposals for how the university could move forward but nothing is set in stone.

General maintenance on the three is costing between $3 million and $4 million annually, Shaffer said.

The nine-year plan to renovate the towers would cost an estimated $233 million. That would include updates to deteriorating pipes, asbestos abatement and remodeling the towers.

"We don't have other bed space to take a tower off line for a year," Shaffer said.

The renovations would need to be done one wing at a time and while students were still occupying the building.

Another idea was a 10-year plan to build new dormitories and demolish the old ones. This plan would be carried out in four phases and would cost an estimated $257 million.

The plan would included constructing five, five-story buildings that would house 900 students each, Shaffer said.

At the end of the first phase and completion of a new dormitory, one of the towers would be demolished to make way for the new building. This process would continue until all five new buildings were complete.

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