Courts makeover ‘long overdue’

Andrea Wilson

BRYN MAWR — A new name, a new look and a new plan for enforcing rules are on the horizon for College Hall Apartments, formerly known as Bryn Mawr Court. The notorious apartment complex is undergoing extensive renovations to increase its appeal and to encourage tenants to improve their behavior.

For several years the Courts, home to many University upperclassmen, have had a reputation for being a promising party scene and for being lax on alcohol and capacity policies.

But times are changing, according to Lynn Angelo, general manager of the building.

Angelo stressed the maximum capacity of each unit is three people, a policy that will now be strictly enforced.

In the past, some residents have managed to sidestep the policy, cramming extra people into each apartment. Angelo emphasized the management’s commitment to enforce the policy, reminding tenants that housing extra people is a violation of the leases they signed.

Angelo also claimed the establishment is continuing to tighten its alcohol policy enforcement. Last October, after run-ins with the Lower Merion Police, Marks & Co., the group that owns the complex, sent a letter to its residents emphasizing that kegs and underage drinking are strictly prohibited in the Courts. Angelo indicated that citations will be issued and parents who guarantee leases will be implicated in violations.

According to Dean of Students Paul Pugh, the enforcement appears to be working, and at least one group of students has been evicted.

“Obviously I don’t want to see any student evicted, and hopefully intervening before it happens will preclude any negative effects on their future plans,” Pugh said.

To complement the crackdown, Marks & Co. is responding to maintenance concerns by promising a total makeover of the building. Each apartment will be completely painted and carpeted.

The kitchens will be fitted with oak cabinets and new sinks, faucets and lighting fixtures. Cable television access which, according to Pugh is now limited to the living areas, will be installed in the bedrooms.

Vanities will be installed in newly-re-tiled bathrooms, and the hallways will be revamped with new carpet and paint. The management also intends to expand the parking available to residents.

Additionally, there will be a laundry room and fitness facility, including a treadmill, elliptical machine, free weights and universal gym located in the basement of the building.

“We want to make it more pleasant for everyone who lives here — to make it a more adult living environment — and we’re hoping that our residents respect it and act accordingly,” Angelo said.

Angelo has invited administrators and students from the University and other area colleges, including Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, to come view the two model apartments that have been completely renovated. Marks & Co. has started with the vacant apartments and will move on to the others as leases expire and apartments are emptied.

Pugh called the renovations long overdue, as students have been complaining about the conditions in the building for several years.

“Quite frankly, it was run-down, and the students were contributing to it,” Pugh said.

Next year, rent will be $2,100, which is less than it is currently. Pugh postulated that the decrease is an attempt to reconcile the capacity violations of the past. With three students residing in an apartment, each would presumably pay $700.

“It’s a two-way street,” Pugh said. “What Marks & Co. is doing is certainly not a cheap gesture, and we hope the people living there will reciprocate and treat it with respect.”