By CRISTINA JANNEY
Epworth Towers recently completed a $6.9 million renovation of the income-based apartments in Hays.
The project was funded through tax credits through the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. Construction on the project began in July 2019 and was completed in April.
The building was built in 1981 and had not had a major renovation since that time.
"We had never gone into the bones of the building, which really needed it," Debra Staab, property manager, said.
New windows and new elevators were installed. The old windows were leaking. Apartments were remodeled from top to bottom with new carpet, paint and appliances.
A closet in the apartments was made slightly smaller to accommodate additional cabinet space in the kitchens.
The old boiler system was replaced, and residents can now control the heating and cooling systems in their own apartments.
In the summer and in the fall, some people wanted heat and others wanted cooling, Stabb said. Both heat and cool couldn't be accommodated at the same time under the old boiler system.
The sewer system was replaced. More security cameras were added and upgraded lighting installed during the renovation.
A new generator was installed that will keep the lower floor and exterior lights running in the case of a power outage.
Common spaces were also renovated, including sun rooms on each of the building's six floors and a community room on the ground floor.
The building, 2800 Augusta Lane, Hays, has 90 units with 88 one-bedroom apartments and two two-bedroom apartments.
The apartment complex did not rent any apartments during the renovation. Tenants were temporarily moved to vacant apartments while their rooms were remolded.
The complex is now pushing to fill all of its units.
It is offering a $500 cash move-in bonus. Renters need to be 55 or older and have an annual income of $28,000 or less to qualify to rent an apartment in the complex.
Residents can have a pet, and a meal program delivers low-cost meals to the Towers.
Now that COVID restrictions have been lifted, the complex is planning a summer barbecue for the residents and will be resuming other activities, including regular free health checks and bingo.
The residents are responsible for cleaning their apartments and their own laundry. Laundry facilities are provided. However, there is a full-time maintenance person on staff.
"It is a very community setting," Staab said. "Some people move in kicking and screaming. Their families bring them and they're leaving their house after 40-plus years. They get here and it such a burden lifted off of them. They don't have to worry about taking care of things, because we take care of it all for them."
The property is conveniently located close to a bank, grocery store and convenience store.
Epworth Towers will have a Hays Chamber ribbon cutting to celebrate its renovation at 10 a.m. July 13.