Columbia Housing Authority Celebrates Renovations at Paquin Tower

Related Story

COLUMBIA - After three years of reconstruction, the Columbia Housing Authority (CHA) and residents at Paquin Tower celebrated the completion of building renovations Wednesday afternoon. Building tours, a ribbon cutting and a Mayoral proclamation were held to highlight the changes.

Built in 1972, Paquin Tower is more than 40 years old. The renovations focused on making the apartment building more energy efficient. According to CHA CEO Phil Steinhaus, one of the largest changes is the conversion of the apartment building's heating and cooling system to a geothermal HVAC system. This gives residents more freedom to control the temperature in their rooms.

"The geothermal heating and cooling system allows residents now to control the heating and cooling in their room which they didn't have much control over in the past. People used to open windows when it got to hot. That's how they cooled their room off," Steinhaus said.

Other improvements include the installation of energy-efficient windows in every room, and new refrigerators, stoves and laundry equipment. With the improvements, the total savings for the past year was more than $90,000.

"Even though it might have been a little inconvenient here and there, the overall end product is super," Carlos Harding said.

With the new renovations, Steinhaus said the building feels a lot more like a home than an institution. Resident Dave Dollens said he feels it makes the building more inviting.

Steinhaus said all together the renovations cost $3.6 million. The project was funded from a variety of resources including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Capital Fund competitive grant.