Ceremony marks opening of new dorm



By Will Wright | @KyKernel

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A ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning signaled the opening of the new $25.8 million residence hall on Central Campus.

The ceremony marked the first step of a collegiate housing revitalization project, and the first tangible result of the public-private partnership of the university with EdR, a private real estate investment trust.

Gov. Steve Beshear, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and UK President Eli Capilouto were among those attending the ribbon cutting ceremony.

UK and EdR have been working together on the $133.7-million housing project, said Randy Churchey, chief executive officer of EdR. The new residence hall is 172,064 sq. ft.

“Our team working with your team, Dr. Capilouto, has really been a great partnership,” Churchey said. “I look forward to this housing and the housing to come.”

Central Hall, located across from the William T. Young Library, will house 601 residents.

Bedrooms in the new dorm come with a microwave-fridge unit and two beds with Tempur-Pedic mattresses. The dorm is suite style where two bedrooms share a bathroom.

Central Hall was designed not only as a place for students to sleep, but also as a place to learn and socialize.

“I move in on Wednesday,” incoming freshman Will Schaefer said. “I’m stuttering, I can’t even explain how excited I am. It feels more like a hotel to me.”

Central Hall will provide residents with classroom space, study areas, recreation rooms and kitchens. In addition, a laundry facility can update students, via cell phone or computer, on machine availability and the status of their laundry.

“It creates an environment for creating excellence,” Student Government President Roshan Palli said.

Beshear said excellent student recruits will be drawn to the new housing at UK.

“UK’s ability to recruit the top students in the future is going to depend partly on the housing. Our ability to give them a top housing experience will ensure we can bring top students to the university,” Beshear said.

As incoming freshmen move in within the next few weeks, Gray welcomed the students and said the city is glad they are here.

“We’re ready for the city’s pulse to get quite a bit quicker,” he said.