Maintenance costs rise for the ‘Sunnies’

By Neil Reily & Josh McCartney

Sports Editor & Special to The Denisonian

Perched on the north slope of The Hill are the “Sunnies” Sunsets Houses, the infamous apartment-style suites that, according to the Denison website, represent “the long-term goal to make apartment living an option for the entire senior class.”

Their short, beer-drenched histories have been a little more raucous, and perhaps, more expensive than the University originally envisioned when construction of the first three buildings was completed in 1998.

Recently, maintenance requests from students such as Gina Babinec ‘16 from the Pratt Hall basement have been submitted with greater frequency.

The occupants of the room found “mold within the carpet and furniture, as well as a large leak in the floor,” Babinec said in an email.

When the residents reached out to the University, “they responded and fixed the problems,” and Babinec and her roommates were “provided alternate housing while the issues were being addressed, and ultimately, they replaced the flooring and furniture.”

Denison’s Physical Plant has been busy over the last five years and the University has, according to Denison’s Facilities Services, invested approximately $250,000 in replacing heating, ventilation and air conditioning units, water heaters, carpeting and other improvement projects.

Art Chonko, the director of Facilities Services at Denison, shed light on the possible reasons behind the increase in maintenance requests, especially from the Sunset Houses.

“The [Board of Trustees] at the time directed that they be built to ‘developer’ standards which was out of wood frame and using plywood for floors,” Chonko said.

“Historically, university housing was built to a little heavier construction standard using a little more block and concrete which adds some cost.

In either case, the buildings will last for a long time if they are maintained.”

Chonko went on to mention that there are wood frame structures that last hundreds of years, “although, they probably don’t take the abuse that the apartments take.”

Despite the irksome mishaps of the Sunset Houses, the development in their physical and metaphorical sense, has become both a staple of the

Denison social scene and a topic of yearning and anticipation for younger students. But, they will fail to satisfy the younger students’ longing if they perpetually float the horrendous odors of the previous evening’s exploits, namely alcohol, and body fluids.  How much will the Sunsets cost the University?