Stadium Apartments to be demolished later this fall

What was once the top pick for student housing at UMD will soon become just a piece of history. Stadium Apartments, which have been a part of the UMD campus for 40 years, are no longer up to code, and new renovations would cost up to $12 million. The building is scheduled for demolition later this fall.

The apartment complex was built in 1972 on the northeast corner of the UMD campus. The complex includes 78 apartments inside of three buildings, totaling 312 available beds. Other than the temporary student overflow Village Apartments built in 1970, Stadium Apartments were the first on-campus apartments at UMD. This made them a popular pick for students. Rather than living in a small dorm room, students could feel like they had their own “mini-home” while at college and away from their parents.

“Stadium apartments were the first buildings to fill up when it came to students’ housing choice,” said John Weiske, director of UMD housing.

Over time, Stadium Apartments have housed more than 10,000 students at UMD, some of who would watch the football games from their living room window.

Weiske said that the building was up to code at the time of the initial construction, but as time passed, it began to break various regulations.

“It slowly started to turn into a maintenance nightmare,” Weiske said. “Inconsistent window leaks were happening in various parts of the building, as well as positively tested asbestos in the sheetrock.”

The apartments that are handicap accessible did not contain handicap bathrooms.

Over time, this violated the American Disabilities Act. In order to be up to the standard code, bedrooms would need to be removed to make room for larger handicapped bathrooms, creating less room for living space. The building also does not contain any type of elevator or handicap ramp, and would need more staircases and fire exits to be up to current fire code.

The first realization that some plan of action needed to be taken with the apartments happened in 2004. It was initially decided that each building would be taken down, one at a time. This created a problem financially, and it also affected incoming students, as some would have a lesser chance of living on campus.

After various meetings, the decision was made to build a new housing complex, Ianni Hall, rather than trying to fix all of the problems in Stadium Apartments.

“Being stewards of the financial resources for housing, we knew it would be much more cost efficient to build a new housing space, rather than try to entirely reconstruct an old building,” Weiske said.

Weiske feels that apartments aren’t always the best housing option for an incoming freshman student, and a new dorm building was more suitable for the first year of college. The estimated cost of reconstruction of the apartments is $12 million, while construction of the new Ianni Hall was approximately $14 million.

John Kessler, project manager for the apartment demolition, hopes that the razing will happen later this fall.

“We are in the process of working out the logistics of tearing them down,” Kessler said. “The apartments will come down one by one, but it’s not a simple deal where you can pick a date and bring down the buildings; we need approvals from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.”

Tischer Creek, located next to Stadium Apartments, cannot be removed. Both the demolition process and the future plans for what will take the apartments’ place are facing a hint of trouble due to the creek. So far, the plans for what’s to come are still up in the air.

“There are many departments and collegiate units that want a piece of that land,” Kessler said.

Chancellor Lendley Black and the UMD administration will make the final decision. Much of the demolition process has been, and will continue to be done, with an eye for sustainably.

The concrete and brick from the majority of the apartment buildings will be ground up and used again, while the steel and electrical wire will be recycled. Some of the remaining furniture was distributed around the campus, such as chairs, desks and couches.

“We try to find the most efficient ways to use our financial resources, and this (demolition) was something that had to be done,” Weiske said.



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