WWU Continues Birnam Wood Renovation

Western Washington University is continuing improvements to the Birnam Wood residence apartments, part of a multi-year renovation.

Renovation of the apartments is being done in phases. The project now is in Phase 2 of deck and railing replacements and Phase 1 of roof replacements.

In summer 2017, Phase 1 work took care of emergent deck repairs; throughout the 2018 year, remaining deck repairs are being addressed in Phase 2.

For safety reasons, signs and mechanical locks have been placed in each Birnam Wood apartment until the construction of the building is complete. Residents have been notified of the closed decks in stacks 3, 4, 6 and 7 (see graphic below for anticipated completion date). The deck in Birnam Wood Community Building will be available for use until Winter Break, but will undergo construction Dec. 17 2018 – Jan. 9 2019.

Building Completion Date
BW Stack 7  Oct. 5
BW Stack 6 Oct. 19
BW Stack 3 Nov. 9
BW Stack 4 Nov. 28
Community Building Dec. 17, 2018 to Jan. 9, 2019

There has been a delay in replacement of deck railings for individual apartments. Aluminum posts designated for the deck railings are not available, as concerns about potential U.S. tariff price hikes on aluminum from Canada – a major producer of aluminum – caused a disruption in supply of aluminum. As a result, the railing posts need to be refabricated in steel, leading to the delay.

Work being done is a result of University Residences’ initial Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) started in 2015. That led to the Birnam Wood External Upgrade Feasibility Study that has mapped out work to be performed through summer 2020. Next summer, 2019, Phase 2 of roofs will replace all roofs not repaired during Phase 1, and Phase 1 of external siding repairs will begin. 

Birnam Wood apartments were built in 1970, are nearing 50 years of age and are well past cyclic renewal periods.  Repair and replacement actions by sub-system identified in the feasibility study are being executed as appropriate.

Western’s Board of Trustees in April awarded H.B. Hansen of Lynden a competitively bid construction contract for the Birnam Wood Deck Replacement (Phase 2) and Roof Replacement (Phase 1) project. Cornerstone Architectural Group of Kenmore are the project architects.