The University Record, October 15, 2001

Observatory Lodge vacated for safety

By Alan Levy
Housing Information Office

Observatory Lodge, a 34-unit apartment building belonging to the University, will be vacated in mid-December for an indefinite period based on recently identified and significant building problems.

Observatory Lodge is adjacent to the School of Public Health near the Medical Center and is operated by University Housing as part of its family housing system. It currently houses 19 residents, primarily students. Residents will be offered the opportunity to move to another Family Housing unit and will be given moving support, said University housing director William Zeller. A small research unit of the School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology maintains an office in the building and also will need to be relocated.

“After a series of inspections and facilities assessments, we’ve determined that critical components of the building’s infrastructure, including the electrical and fire alarm systems, are in need of substantial improvement,” Zeller said. “In consultation with the University’s Risk Management Office, we concluded that the Lodge cannot be safely occupied beyond the end of this year. In addition, we cannot make these repairs safely or satisfactorily while the building is occupied.”

Housing Security will maintain a 24-hour fire watch in the building until it is fully vacated to ensure as high a degree of personal safety as possible, Zeller said. The scope of the repairs is still under review; no timetable has been set for completion of the repairs or for returning the Lodge to resident occupancy.

Observatory Lodge is a six-level apartment building built in a Tudor revival style in 1930. It operated for 36 years as a private facility until the University purchased it in 1966. It has been part of Family Housing since 1987.