Board approves housing expansion



By Will Wright | @KyKernel

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The UK Board of Trustees approved on Tuesday the further expansion of on-campus student housing.

Phase II of housing expansion will include eight new dorms, bringing the total number of modern student accommodations to 4,592.

The new, modern dormitories will have spaces for students to learn and collaborate with each other, UK Public Relations officer Jay Blanton said.

“We’re talking about spaces that have wireless connections, adaptable classroom space, adaptable learning space and collaborative space where students can live and learn,” Blanton said.

The average age of a bed on campus is about 45 years old.

The expansion and modernization of UK’s undergraduate housing began in February 2012 with the construction of Central Hall I and II, which will house 601 students this fall.

Phase II-A of the housing expansion includes constructing five new residence halls, adding 2,381 beds to campus by August 2014.

The Phase II-A dormitories are Champions Court I and II on North Campus, Woodland Glen I and II behind William T. Young Library, and Haggin Hall, which will contain a the new K Lair dining venue.

The estimated cost of Phase II-A is set at $138 million.

Phase II-B allows for the construction of three new residence halls, Woodland Glen III, IV and V.

Phase II-B will add 1,610 new beds and completes the transformation of the Cooperstown site by August 2015.

Phase I, Phase II-A and Phase II-B will have an economic impact of approximately $163.8 million and generate $7.5 million in tax revenues.

The housing developments will support 7,384 direct and indirect jobs.

About 75 percent of the employees will be Kentuckians.

The administration hopes to have about 9,000 beds on campus by the end of the five to seven year housing project, about 4,000 more beds than are currently available in UK’s residence halls.

Of the 5,000 beds on campus, only about 600 of them are modern, Blanton said.

The majority of the residence halls on campus will be demolished during the housing project, according to Blanton.

“There are roughly 20 residence halls on campus, and the majority of them will be deconstructed and rebuilt, and then expanded, and additional beds will be built as well,” Blanton said.

Roselle Hall, Baldwin Hall, Smith Hall, and Ingles Hall will not be torn down.

The fate of the Kirwan-Blanding complex has not been determined.

Blanton said students who live on campus generally do better than those who do not.

“There is a lot of academic research that suggests students graduate at higher rates, are retained at higher rates, when they live on campus. They are closer to campus, they get involved in student life more readily, they get involved in student organizations, they’re closer to their classrooms, so we know students do better generally academically and socially when they live on campus,” Blanton said.

The board also approved the purchase of the Lexington Theological Seminary campus.

The 63-year-old campus was purchased for $13.5 million.

UK will have the option to use the classroom space starting in January 2014.

The seminary has decided to relocate to anther Lexington location.