While the current construction consists only of roofing replacement, officials say any renovation projects on Old East and Old West must exercise caution to preserve the buildings' historic authenticity.
On Jan. 22, construction crews began roof and gutter work on the buildings. Both buildings had new roofs installed during extensive renovations from 1992 to 1993, but already need more repairs.
Larry Herringdine, UNC's assistant director of facilities management, said the renovations will cost $230,000, money that will come from the Department of University Housing.
But the current roof replacement is just one of many construction projects that have been executed on Old East and Old West in past years.
Old East represents a historic landmark not only for the University, but for the nation as well. As the oldest building on any state university campus in the nation, Old East naturally requires attention regarding the preservation of its historic authenticity and appearance.
The windows, for example, were selected to look as authentic as the original windows, Willis said.
"The exterior appearance of the building is maintained as similar as possible to its appearance before," Willis said.
But while outside appearance is emphasized, almost none of the original inside materials remain from the 1700s. During renovations of the early 1990s, workers gutted most of the interior of each building.
Even the outside of Old East looks very different from the building that was completed in 1795. The residence hall originally consisted of two towers and two stories. But in 1822, when Old West was built, a third story was added to Old East, and in 1848, a third tower was added.