Section 8 housing undergoing renovations in Columbia

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COLUMBIA — The Columbia Housing Authority plans to move forward with another affordable housing renovation. CEO Phil Steinhaus said the housing authority received approval to start construction on Oak Towers beginning in December.

Stuart Park Apartments, Paquin Towers, and Bear Creek Apartments are other affordable housing units that underwent construction this year as a part of the Rental Assistance Demonstration program provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"We are in the process of trying to renovate all 719 units of public housing," Steinhaus said.

By the end of 2017, 509 units of public housing will be completed, according to Steinhaus.

Steinhaus said Oak Towers is due for a major upgrade since it was built in 1966. 

"The main thing we'll do is install a ground source geothermal system with heat pumps that will allow us to remove the antiquated boiler system and the window air conditioning units," Steinhaus said.

He said the new system will be more energy efficient and reduce utility costs.

Additional improvements to Oak Towers will include new windows, cabinets, appliances, redoing bathrooms, energy efficient lighting and repainting. 

Oak Towers residents affected by the renovations will have to relocate. 

"Our plan is to move everybody out of the 8th floor and then renovate it, and then move people from the 7th floor up to the 8th floor and renovate the 7th floor. And just do the same, and work our way down through the building," Steinhaus said. 

 Total construction costs for the building estimate nearly $7.5 million.