Apartments close: Shuttle rolling on by

Apartments close: Shuttle rolling on by

Brandon Zeris, Editor-In-Chief

College Park Apartments along Theatre Drive housed roughly 115 Pitt-Johnstown students last year, but the complex is to be closed for at least a year following a building inspection that prompted university housing officials to deem it unsafe.

Housing and Residence Life Director Mark Dougherty cited worn-down balconies as problem areas, but said that residents were not in danger last year.

“The decision to close the (College Park Apartments) was a cautious action by the university,” he said.

As a result, the campus shuttle service has been limited. When the complex was open, the shuttle drivers transported students from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. to and from the apartments and Blackington Hall.

While the complex is closed, however, the shuttle is  scheduled to make rounds every day from only 2 – 6 p.m. from the Student Union to Richland Towne Center, leaving Bloomfield Apartments residents without a ride.

There aren’t any plans to extend the service elsewhere, but Student Life Director Sherri Rae said students can suggest destinations to staff.

“We’re open to talking about what’s of interest,” she said. “If there was an overwhelming route that seemed to be a favorite, then we’d be willing to look into it.”

Senior Ben Wojnarowski said he would like the shuttle to resume making stops near the Bloomfield Apartments, where he lives.

“It was definitely a selling point for Bloomfield,” he said. “If I knew there wasn’t going to be a shuttle, I would have re-evaluated my living plans.

“It still goes to Wal-Mart, so they could just swing by. It’s on the way,” Wojnarowski said.

Those living in Bloomfield previously were able to use the shuttle service, but, because Bloomfield isn’t university-owned, residents won’t be able to take advantage of the shuttle until the College Park Apartments reopen and the service is resumed.

“There is no plan to incorporate a stop at Bloomfield in the shuttle route,” Dougherty said. “That was not the intent of the shuttle service.”

Former College Park Apartment residents were given an option to relocate to other locations on campus and were given first priority for available rooms, according to Dougherty.

“Most students were relocated to either lodge facilities or (Living and Learning Center) rooms,” he said, adding that the move resulted in high occupancy levels in upperclass halls.

Resident Assistants were also reassigned to different buildings, preventing job losses, according to Dougherty.

Plans regarding the complex are being developed, but Dougherty did not say whether it would be repaired or whether a new structure would be built.

“It would be premature for me to provide any details regarding timelines or repair plans, as nothing is finalized at this time.”