Brigham Young University has announced plans to raze the remaining five buildings in the Deseret Towers housing complex on campus. In the fall of 2006, BYU razed two of the seven residence halls, V and W Halls. The other five buildings served students throughout the 2006-2007 school year, but have remained unoccupied since September.
Impact Contractor, Inc., out of Salt Lake City, will begin demolition work on the other five in mid-November. Demolition and clean-up is expected to continue through June.
In September 2005, BYU announced that it would be taking Deseret Towers out of service. The university explained that the buildings would be vacated over a two-year period beginning fall 2006. At that time, the university also announced the creation of two pilot programs: the opening of Wyview apartments to single students and the beginning of chartered housing, an arrangement where a private property owner works closely with the university to provide quality housing.
The university faced a growing vacancy rate and aging mechanical systems at Deseret Towers, and is currently studying its housing options, particularly the need for more on-campus, apartment-style housing.
The university has not announced any plans to replace Deseret Towers. “Before we complete our master housing plan we want to further study the desires and needs of our students,” said Julie Franklin, director of Residence Life at BYU.
The first five buildings of Deseret Towers were constructed in 1964. Additional buildings were added in 1969 and 1978. Each building had seven floors and a basement and could house up to 264 students.
“Over time the residence halls’ maintenance costs steadily increased to the point that it was no longer prudent to operate them,” said Brian Evans, administrative vice president and chief financial officer at BYU.
“The buildings also are not equipped to handle the needs of today’s students,” he said. “For instance, unlike in 1964, students have computers, small refrigerators, televisions and a variety of other electrical devices. There are simply not enough outlets to handle their needs.”