September 30, 2023

Facilities working on renovating the Commons

The Office of Facilities Management has recently began renovations of the Capital Commons Apartments.

This student housing is exclusive to those who have accumulated 60 or more credit hours (typically juniors and seniors).

Each apartment has all of the essential living materials, such as a kitchen, carpeted living room, and a washer and dryer set. The problem was that these units haven’t had official renovations done to them since 1997.

Facilities felt that it was time to begin a project to properly upgrade Capital Commons for a new generation of students.

“We’ve own these for many years,” Paul Matthews, director of facilities, said. “It’s time to renew those units appropriately.”

The team behind the renovations started out with one central goal in mind: to update the Commons to satisfy the expectations of new students, all while utilizing sustainable methods.

“Students’ expectations are changing,” Rima Leonaviciute, associate director of facilities, said. “Whatever their expectations were ten years ago, it’s not the same today. We believe that our students deserve quality living spaces.”

The team’s deadline is Aug. 1, and with about 24 apartments to renovate, they believe that the summer months will give them the perfect window to get many renovations done.

What exactly were the conditions like before renovations though? Well, keep in mind that some of the carpeting has been there since 1997, which means that it’s about the same age as the people who are living there. College students are messy, so the carpets have been through a lot.

Fortunately, Leonaviciute realized that beneath this old carpeting is something that holds great potential.

“Those old apartments have beautiful hardwood floors underneath. When I discovered that, it was a no-brainer.”

From there, it became a snowball effect of upgrades to the wall paint, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Five of the apartments still had the original kitchens inside of them. They are functional, but definitely not in the most optimal conditions possible.

This leads into finding new appliances and materials. Facilities management is using their best methods to strive for sustainability.

“All of the refrigerators that we’re looking to purchase will be Energy Star, so they’re very energy efficient,” Matthews said.

Even the new toilets will be working toward energy efficiency.

There will be a lower flow of water gallons that are being used, which will lead to an energy saving on water, along with cost.

While on the topic of toilets, the team expressed that renovating the bathrooms will be the most challenging part of the project.

“We might have some plumbing failures that will need to be addressed,” Leonaviciute said. “That’s the biggest fear, and we can not assess that right now until we do the work. The good part is that 11 apartments of the 24 already have new plumbing.”

Facilities has also teamed up with the Central Ohio Bed Brigade in order to donate nearly 200 mattresses to families across the central Ohio area that are in desperate need of them.

Youting Chen, an intern at the facilities office, talked about a sustainability website that will soon go live in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to have a lot of sustainability projects on our website,” Chen said.

The website will include pictures of local community gardens and habitats.

In terms of future renovation projects, Matthews gave a bit of insight into what living area could be tackled next.

“In particular, Saylor-Ackermann is one that we’re seriously looking at renovating. Schaaf and Cotterman are in fairly good shape; both have central air conditioning. Saylor-Ackermann, as you know, is our oldest residence hall on campus,” he said.

Not too long ago, Saylor-Ackermann received quick renovations to the shower system on the northwest wing of the building. It seems though, that grander plans could be in store for the future.

Of course, bigger buildings require bigger investments and time.


  • Robert Cumberlander

    Robert Cumberlander is the Editor-in-Chief of The Chimes and a senior at Capital University, majoring in Film and Media Production with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Journalism.

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