Photos by Ana Salinas
The George Page Residential Complex underwent major renovations this summer, and Pepperdine has plans to develop numerous other areas all over campus as well.
“We have an ongoing ‘renewal and replacement’ plan on campus, where we focus on campus areas in need of some work. The George Page apartment complex was in real need,” Vice President of Administration Phil Phillips wrote in an email.
The Department of Design and Construction worked on the building designs and planning. This department frequently works with Pepperdine on infrastructural development. Many of the new designs and additions to the apartment complex are sustainable and durable, and have been well-received by George Page residents. According to Phillips, the total construction cost before building began was estimated at $7.6 million. However, the final cost after construction was under budget at only $6.6 million. Phillips wrote that one of the main reasons they finished the project under budget was because they didn’t hire an outside architect. He also attributed the low project cost to the Department of Design and Construction’s efficiency. The Department integrated durable yet cost-effective features and appliances to further cut down on spending, according to Phillips.
Both George Page 1 and George Page 2 apartments are nearly full. George Page 1 houses around 120 students, while George Page 2 houses about 105. These residents are primarily undergraduate juniors and seniors as well as law students, according to Phillips.
Junior Austin Kasselmann, who lives in George Page 1, said he enjoys the renovations.
“It’s a lot nicer than all the previous on-campus housing I’ve lived in before,” he said. “The new appliances and bathrooms are definitely a step up from Towers and it’s not very expensive. The only issue I have is the 15-minute walk downhill to campus, and the walk uphill is even longer. Aside from that, I love it.”
There are many sustainable features and appliances that come with newly-renovated rooms in George Page. There is improved ventilation, energy-efficient light fixtures with brighter lighting, water-efficient plumbing fixtures and new low-emissivity glass that retains heat when it is cool outside and reduces heat when it is hot. Additions also include new furniture, cabinets, countertops, dishwashers, refrigerators and more, according to Phillips.
Abbey Chong, the project manager, offered her input regarding the new features.
“We put great emphasis on product selection to achieve the greatest sustainability, including product life longevity,” Chong wrote in an email. “The most sustainable products are products that don’t have to be replaced from functional failure or visible wear. The products used in this renovation not only have a long life, but also a high-quality life.”
For example, the new nonporous quartz countertops are exceedingly durable, the new shower walls are longer-lasting, and the new eco-friendly carpet and vinyl tiles are environmentally sustainable while simultaneously reducing floor maintenance, according to Chong.
The integration of these new renovations and features did not encounter many issues. Phillips wrote he believes it is because of the Department of Design and Construction’s accurate foresight and meticulous planning that the project went smoothly.
“On a big project like this, with facilities that are decades old, there are always unforeseen conditions during construction,” Phillips wrote. “We are used to dealing with those, and we begin planning for them long before going into construction. During the planning stages, we dug into numerous critical areas and components of the building to ensure we had the most accurate understanding of the current conditions so we could reduce the number of unknown conditions. Due to this and other measures, we did not encounter any unforeseen problems we hadn’t already addressed in the planning phase, or for which we didn’t have a plan of action.”
Phillips also wrote that he believes students residing in the recently-renovated George Page complex are enjoying their new accommodations.
“Housing and Residential Life has received very positive feedback from students describing a much-enhanced, desirable living environment,” he wrote.
Some students who didn’t receive the opportunity to live in George Page have a different opinion. Junior Sebastian Lopez said he is upset because he believes the residents in George Page are getting significantly better housing arrangements for only a minor increase in housing costs.
“They get a lot more for not having to pay much more. Lovernich is pretty expensive considering I pay $1,400 per month and we can’t even get decent shower curtains,” he said. “The lottery system isn’t very fair considering there is such a stark contrast in housing quality.”
A Lovernich shared bedroom costs $5,815 per semester and a George Page shared bedroom costs $5,930 per semester, according to Pepperdine’s website. Also, a Rockwell Towers double costs $5,560, a freshman suite-style house double costs $5,305 and a Drescher W Block room costs $5,560. There was not an increase in George Page housing prices after renovations. Lopez’s main complaint was that while George Page residents pay $115 more per semester, he believes they receive significantly better housing quality overall.
Phillips’ personal reaction to the renovations was amazement.
“I had previously toured the interiors, and was blown away,” he wrote. “Our staff — Abbey Chong and Ben Veenendaal — managed and designed this project without an architect, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our team is incredible.”
According to Phillips, there are no more renovations planned for George Page, but Pepperdine is planning to do a complete renovation and remodeling of Payson Library, the Pendleton Learning Center and the Huntsinger Academic Center in the near future. Pepperdine is also considering construction at the School of Law — specifically a residence hall and an event center, Phillips wrote. He also expressed his hopes for providing more space for intramural sports, field sports and outdoor recreation space in general.
Follow John Lawlor on Twitter: @lawlornothing