Columbia Square Apartments in Lawton gets 'green' makeover - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Columbia Square Apartments in Lawton gets 'green' makeover

Lawton_The old, rundown, Columbia Square Apartments in Lawton have been replaced, thanks to Catholic Charities and Mercy Housing.  The affordable housing apartments are now called "Villanova Apartments" - Villanova meaning "new home."  They're new, improved, and "green" homes for several families.  "People who live in Lawton probably remember it as kind of a half-timbered balcony, falling off - not a very attractive place," said Chris Nervig with Mercy Housing.  "Now when you drive up to it, it's just the most beautiful construction that you could ever have seen."

On Thursday, there was a dedication and blessing ceremony for the new building, and people from throughout the community came out to celebrate the transformation of Columbia Square to Villanova Apartments.  Some families have lived in the finished section of the complex for about a year, and on the Archbishop of Oklahoma City led the morning celebration and dedication of the revamped and environmentally friendly homes.

Catholic Charities wanted a better home for the families there.  "I've been here for a year, in the new building, and it's a more homey feeling," said resident LaTisha Clay.  "This was a project of my heart," said said Nervig.  "This was not a project of my mind.  We did this for the 64 adults and the 200 children, and that's what I kept remembering." 

When constructing the building, they were building "green" - saving the environment and money.  "[We were] deeply passionate about making a "green" facility, and making a place where people can feel safe and comfortable in their home," said Nancy Largent with Catholic Charities.  From outside in, and floor to ceiling, the apartments are constructed well.  Not only are they affordable, they are environmentally friendly.  "All of the shingles are made with recyclable materials.  Even the playground is finished with recyclable tires that keep a soft surface for the children to play on," said Largent.

Clay says she feels safer there, too.  "I feel safer with my 7-year-old - I let him come outside and ride his bike and go to the playground."  Safety is important, but so is saving money.  Catholic Charities thought of everything, including monitoring energy costs to save money.  "We have a computerized system that allows us to monitor how the apartments are doing in terms of energy efficiency," said Largent.  "They try to help us as much as possible, you know, if we need help with a bill or something, they try to find the resources to help us," said Clay.

Villanova Apartments has been six years in the making in a true collaboration to build a safer and more affordable home for the 64 families that will fill them.  Many families already live in parts of Villanova, and when the rest of the complex is completed at the end of December, it will take on new residents.

 

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