Work begins on Knapp’s home

Demolition is complete and renovations are beginning on a multi million dollar project to refurbish the Alumni House for University President Steven Knapp.

Permits filed with the city estimate the total cost of construction to be about $1.5 million.

Knapp made his decision to live in the 159 year-old building on 20th and F streets this summer. The project details were approved by the city this fall, and construction began in mid-December.

Electrical, plumbing and heating systems are all major focuses of the renovation, said Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz.

The historic building is being modernized to accommodate the Knapp family as well as to be eco-friendly. Other renovations include energy-efficient lights and windows, environmentally friendly paint and carpets, and a small green-roof.

Another major change is the addition of an elevator and exterior wheelchair lift, to make the residence completely handicapped accessible.

The University’s goal is to have access to a portion of the space on the first floor by graduation – and to have the project complete later this summer, said Adela de la Torre, a University spokesperson.

Working in compliance with the Green Building Act of 2008, the building is in accordance with new standards for environmental protection. In addition to permit application fees, there is a “green building fee” for $965, certifying the building as meeting the Green Communities standard.

Katz said the building will not only be a home for the Knapps, but likely a place for the president to entertain. “He wants to have a gathering spot for all kinds of dialogue on campus and with the it where people want to come to campus to discuss different issues.”

De la Torre said construction on the first floor will likely finish by the spring and that the University hopes the entire building will be finished later in the summer.

The project is being funded by the sale of former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s house on Bancroft Avenue. The house, which has been on the market for several months, is listed for about $4 million. Additional profits will be put into the endowment.

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