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Off-campus housing spruced up in city

The historic home at 39 Tompkins St. is one of many student houses undergoing renovations. The building, built in 1888, has been owned by Nancy Medsker and Thomas Seaney, both of Ithaca, for about 13 years. Medsker said the property has been used as off-campus housing for several years.

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

The historic home at 39 Tompkins St. is one of many student houses undergoing renovations. The building, built in 1888, has been owned by Nancy Medsker and Thomas Seaney, both of Ithaca, for about 13 years. Medsker said the property has been used as off-campus housing for several years.

With the new college semester beginning, some local students may find their off campus housing is under construction with repairs or renovations.

For Nancy Medsker, landlord of the apartment house at39 Tompkins St., the restoration to the building was in part due to the need for a roof repair, she said.

The building, which was constructed in 1888, has been owned by Medsker and Thomas Seaney, both of Ithaca, for around 13 years and has been used as off-campus housing for years, Medsker said. She said she has owned properties in Cortland since 1999 and has sold all her other holdings but the house at 39 Tompkins St.

New copper replacements are being added to the roof, which will give it a new shine, Medsker said.

Along with the roof, repairs around the windows and the windowsills are also being done, she added.

Work on the roof and windows began a couple of weeks ago and is expected to last a couple more weeks, Medsker said.

Because the house is in the historic district, Medsker said that to do the restorations she has to go through the city Historic Advisory Board. With the replacement and repair, she only has to go through the staff level, which is simple, she said. All the replacement material also has to be custom-made.

Last year the building’s gutters were replaced, Medsker said. So far, that has been the biggest project on the building, she said.

Yet to be done is replacing the building’s porch. That project is scheduled to begin in the spring, Medsker said.

Medsker isn’t the only property owner working on construction and restoration.

Mike Reeners, son and partner of property owner Jim Reeners, said a new apartment house is under construction at 100 Tompkins St. and should be ready for occupancy by August 2017. Designed for college students, the house will contain two three-bedroom apartments, Reeners said.

“The old house (on the site) had been vacant for three to four years. It was an eyesore and we thought the neighborhood needed new blood,” Reeners said.

Reeners said this is just one of the properties the pair owns and all need work before students return in the fall. Two other Reeners’ properties are houses at 50 Tompkins St. and 112 Groton Ave.

Reconditioning work over the summer includes cleaning from top to bottom, minor repairs and some replacements, he said.

Sometimes, furniture needs to be repaired before new students move in and sometimes broken doors are found and must be replaced, Reeners said.

“Things deteriorate and dry rot,” Medsker said. “If you don’t repair, then things get worse.”

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