UK officials right to focus on renovating older buildings

UK President Eli Capilouto in a recent interview with the Kentucky Kernel said the administration is now focusing on how to renovate some older buildings in the center of campus.

The campus core, which includes the Enoch Grehan Journalism Building, Kastle Hall and the Funkhouser Building, holds some of the oldest buildings on campus. Funkhouser was built in 1942, Grehan was built in 1951, and Kastle Hall was completed in 1926.

Students said these buildings have problems with heating and other basic amenities, but also said they like the historic value that comes with older buildings.

“They’re really cold, even when the heat’s on,” said interior design junior Sara McAbee about interior design studios in Funkhouser.

McAbee said electrical outlets hung from the ceiling because the building does not have enough wall outlets, and that students have other problems with basic amenities like a projector that was installed earlier this year, but still does not work.

“(But) I kind of like the look of the building,” McAbee said. “I think it’s cool that we keep around a lot of the old buildings on campus.”

Kastle Hall, home to UK’s Department of Psychology and one of the core’s oldest buildings, has the same historic value, but also similar problems.

Psychology professor Nathan DeWall, who has an office on the first floor of Kastle Hall, said the Department of Psychology needs a new building.

The department’s faculty is scattered and classes are also scattered across campus, and DeWall said it would be nice to be able to consolidate it into one building. The department also needs more space for research facilities.

When students want to use the Internet in a lab or classroom, it can be difficult because the building was not designed with the Internet in mind.

“That being said, I do love working in a historic building,” DeWall said. “I think it’s easy to complain about facilities … but our greatest resource is our people, we don’t need any renovations there. Our people are top-notch, and that’s why people stay here in the Department of Psychology.”

The administration is right to make a priority of renovating older buildings in the campus core. Like DeWall said, the people who work in the buildings and the students who have class in the classrooms are what make the departments strong.

Those faculty members and staffers deserve the best technology and the best learning spaces. If nothing else, students like McAbee deserve to be warm during the winter.

The historic value of those buildings is appreciated by students and faculty, and should be preserved. But above all else, our students and faculty deserve buildings where they can effectively work and learn.

[email protected]