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Deseret Towers

Demolition not yet determined, to meet changing needs of campus life

The skyline of Brigham Young University's Provo campus will be altered in the coming years to accommodate, in part, the changing needs and nuances of student life.

The Church-owned school recently announced plans to raze the venerable Deseret Towers student housing complex.

Tens of thousands of BYU students have called Deseret Towers home since the first five of the seven buildings that make up the complex were built in 1964. Two of the buildings are expected to be unoccupied by September. An exact demolition date on those two buildings has not been determined, although the university intends to move forward in a timely manner.

The remaining five towers will continue to be used by BYU students throughout the 2006-2007 school year. "Then they will be razed eventually," said BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.

Students living in the remaining five towers will not be affected by the first stage of demolitions.

The school first announced last September it would be taking Deseret Towers out of service. At that time, the university also announced the creation of two pilot programs: the opening of some Wyview apartments to single students, and the beginning of chartered housing — an arrangement in which a private property owner works closely with the university to provide quality housing.

Facing a growing vacancy rate and aging mechanical systems at Deseret Towers, the university said it needed to closely study its housing options, particularly the need for more apartment-style living versus the traditional room-and-board college dormitory.

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 Franken, 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 has seven floors and a basement and can house up to 264 students. Over time, the residence halls' maintenance costs have steadily increased to the point it is no longer prudent to operate them, said BYU's Administrative Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Brian Evans.

"The buildings also are not equipped to handle the needs of today's students," he said. "For instance, unlike in 1964 when students came with a radio alarm clock, students now come with computers, MP3 players, hair dryers, curling irons and more. There are simply not enough outlets to handle their needs."