The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Robbins Apartments Room 306 is just one of many vacant apartments in the on-campus housing building. Nearly half of the rooms on the lower floors of the complex are empty; to some, these rooms are known as the "ghost wing."
Photo credit: HALEY LIBAK/The Falcon.
Ideas to convert apartments not to take place for several more years, Kispert says
By ZACHARIAH BRYAN,
Published: February 23 2011
Even though the Robbins Apartments are getting old and experience maintenance issues at times, students should not expect to see them sold or converted into alternative housing any time soon.
Despite suggestions made by Associated Students of Seattle Pacific’s Student Budget Committee in a letter submitted on Feb. 9, university administrators said the Robbins Apartments will not likely be sold anytime in the foreseeable future. This is mostly due to the current condition of the real estate market, said Craig Kispert, associate vice president for business and planning.
“It doesn’t look like we can get a lot of money if we were to hand it over to the external market,” Kispert said.
Senior Lexie Garrity, who lives in Robbins, said she does not know where transfer students would live if the university sold the apartments.
“Where else would they go?” she asked.
Kispert said selling the apartments does not appeal to the university at this point because SPU would not profit much from the sale. In addition, he said, the Robbins Apartments are already paid for, so the university only has to pay maintenance costs on the facility.
Still, the building was built in the 1960s, Kispert said. As a result, administrators are looking at the cost of maintenance as well. Eventually, the university may have to replace the balconies, repaint the walls, update the stoves and re-carpet the floors of the entire complex.
Some of these renovations are already underway, Kispert said. Earlier in the year, Facilities replaced the water heaters after one flooded the lounge.
Garrity explained that her neighbors’ sink “just fell off” of the wall to which it was attached. Garrity said the sink was fixed right away, but Facilities takes a while to respond to problems in general.
In spite of these and similar problems, Kispert said, an overhaul of the apartments probably will not happen for several years.
Regardless of maintenance costs, Don Mortenson, vice president for business and planning, said SPU has generally held onto property in order to make room for growth in the student body. Selling the apartments would be against that philosophy, he said.
However, currently the Robbins Apartments are not filled to capacity; and many rooms on the south side of the building, sometimes referred to as the “ghost wing,” are empty.
Ideas about the long-term future of Robbins Apartments are still being discussed, Kispert said. Some of the ideas up for debate are those presented in SBC’s report.
In its report, SBC suggested that SPU convert the apartments either into faculty housing or into housing for seniors.
So far, though, these ideas are only speculative, Kispert said, and probably will not be realized for several years.
Meanwhile, the university might consider generating interest in the apartments by creating different programs and activities in which student residents can participate, Kispert said.
SBC’s report also mentioned this kind of reinvigoration for the campus apartments in general.
“On-campus apartments are lacking in programs such as sports, floor activities and on-campus apartment activities as a whole,” the report said.
Garrity said Robbins provides a good place for transfers to build community. There are many opportunities which students can take full advantage of, she said.
Kispert said previous programs have been successful in generating student interest. As a result, they are being considered for use next year.
Residence Life could not be reached to identify exactly what these programs were.
The main question with which the administration is currently dealing is finding the best use for the Robbins Apartments and increasing the capital gained from the apartments, Kispert said.
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