Like the Phoenix, Building 109 rises from ashes

Seven months after sustaining heavy damage by fire, Building 109, one of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s original residential apartment buildings, will again serve as home away from home to students.

Crews are expected to begin moving furniture and appliances into the restored residential apartment building at 3334 Walter Way on Jan. 12. Student occupants will start moving their personal possessions into the units on Jan. 23, two days before the start of second semester on Monday, Jan. 25, said Glenn Gray, UW-Green Bay Director of Housing and Residence Life.

The fire was reported in the early hours of June 25, 2009. The two-story structure with 17 units and 63 beds was unoccupied for the summer. There were no injuries and no other buildings were damaged. While the official cause of the fire was never determined, authorities suspected electrical failure and ruled out arson.

Within a few weeks of the fire, University officials decided to restore Building 109, which is one of nine “traditional” apartment buildings completed in 1970.

The fire also prompted University officials to look at housing options. About 2,000 of the school’s 6,500 students reside on campus. And the loss of 63 beds meant contingency options needed to be in place when students arrived for the fall semester. Some students who were scheduled to live in Building 109 were allowed to opt out of housing contracts, while others were absorbed into other buildings within the complex.

The students who are scheduled to move into the restored apartment building later this month have been living in other residence halls and requested the opportunity to move into an apartment-style unit.

Restoration of the fire-damaged building was a financial decision, Gray said. The cost of restoration, covered by insurance, is estimated at $800,000. Replacement of the facility would have been in the millions. Gray commended all those involved in the speedy restoration of the building.

(Click thumbnails to see larger images.)
Building 109, restoration completed, Jan. 2010 Building 109, restoration completed, Jan. 2010 Building 109, restoration completed, Jan. 2010

Meanwhile, work continues on a new $8 million residence hall that will open in fall 2010 and accommodate 126 students in suite-style living units. As with the other 16 University Village residence units on campus, housing revenues will pay for construction and operations at the residence hall.

UW-Green Bay has 26 housing facilities — nine apartment buildings, 11 residence halls, five apartment-style residence halls and one house maintained by the University.

For additional information call: Glenn Gray, UW-Green Bay Director of Housing and Residence Life, 920 465-2712.

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