Wayne State to demolish problematic Helen L. DeRoy Apartments


Helen L. DeRoy Apartments at Wayne State University. - MARYAM JAYYOUSI
  • Maryam Jayyousi
  • Helen L. DeRoy Apartments at Wayne State University.

Wayne State University’s 47-year-old Helen L. DeRoy Apartments, which has long been marred with sanitation and structural issues, is set to start demolition on Thursday.

The decision comes after a 2015 condition assessment of the 15-story building, in which university officials determined that the cost of repairing the infrastructure was higher than the cost of building new apartments. For years, students had been complaining of water leaks, black mold, and even mushrooms growing out of carpets.

A few years after the apartments were built, the leaks became a problem because of a defective chemical additive used during construction, Sarabond, which was weakening the building's structure. The additive was used on 2,000 buildings before it was eventually discontinued, according to The New York Times.

According to a Wayne State University South End article, WSU chief financial officer William Decatur submitted documents to the WSU Board of Governors on Sept. 23, 2016, stating: “Within a few years after completion of construction, the facade of DeRoy Apartments began to leak at numerous locations into student living spaces. It was eventually determined that a defective chemical additive used during construction was deteriorating the modular brick panels which cover the building exterior. A settlement was reached with the manufacturer and repairs were made, but the problem of leaks has re-occurred as the building has aged.”

According to a university-wide email, the building will be demolished from the top down, and demolition is expected to be completed by the end of September.

Due to the demolition, the sidewalk and parking between Anthony Wayne Drive and DeRoy will be closed to parking and pedestrian traffic until late August. Merrick Street, directly south of DeRoy, will be closed during construction, but a pedestrian path will be available.

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