UK breaks ground on New Central Residence Hall, the first phase of private-housing plan

By Kellie Oates

University, state and city officials, as well as a private development company, broke ground Tuesday for New Central Residence Hall.

The hall will be a 600-bed living learning community with classrooms and meeting spaces, said Randy Churchey, Education Realty Trust’s president and chief executive officer. EdR is one of the nation’s largest developers, owners and managers of collegiate housing, that the university is working with.

This event was the first step in the multi-phase project that will bring new life to UK’s on-campus housing.

The new residence hall is one aspect of “The Kentucky Promise,” which President Eli Capilouto said is “the idea that through the students we educate, the research we conduct and the service we render, our university serves as the best beacon of hope for this commonwealth’s future.”

Capilouto said cutting-edge technology and amenities are expected of a modern flagship university, and New Central Residence Hall will display these aspects through high-quality campus housing at the most affordable price.

“Today we break ground on more than one building,” Capilouto said, “we’re breaking ground on a brighter future for our students, faculty and staff.”

Student body President Micah Fielden discussed how vital it is that administrators understand the importance of university housing.

“By improving our residence hall facilities, the university is investing in the students and the student experience,” Fielden said.

Fielden said this investment will help UK continue to attract and retain bright students from across the country and world.

Pamela May, vice chair for UK’s Board of Trustees, said she was stunned and surprised by how quickly the plan came to life.

Those involved in making this dream a reality proved that with “focus, determination, hard work, plans and money things can happen, and happen very quickly,” May said.

May said the base for UK is undergraduates and that is why it is important to attract to them.

Undergraduates are “the group upon which we will build our future,” she said.

New Central will be located on Haggin Field and will be available for undergraduate occupancy in the fall of 2013.