UK approves new residence hall



By Nicole Schladt

The UK Board of Trustees approved plans for a $30 million student housing project Tuesday as part of UK’s initiative to become a Top 20 public research university.

According to a UK news release, the new construction is expected to provide up to 98,000 square feet of housing, which will accommodate from 350 to 400 undergraduate students. It may open as soon as August 2012.

The residence hall will feature suite-style housing, with one bathroom shared between every two rooms, according to the news release.

The location of the construction has not been determined, but several sites on campus are currently under consideration. The facility has a high-probability to be located in the north campus neighborhood, said Ben Crutcher, associate vice president of Auxiliary Services.

The Board’s announcement came after many months of planning that began with seeking approval for the housing project in the state budget last spring. The next step in the development of the project is to engage an architect and design firm to help with designing the facility, Crutcher said.

“We’ll be getting input from a lot of people about this construction,” Crutcher said. “We’ve already been working with Student Affairs and the Office of Residence Life, and we’ll continue to work with them throughout the planning stages. We also want to get input from students.”

Crutcher warns that the residence hall will take roughly two years to build, and that the August 2012 finish date largely depends on factors beyond the university’s control, like weather conditions.

Still, Crutcher remains optimistic.

“We’re going to try to put this project on the fast track as much as we can,” he said.

This project is expected to fulfill the increased demand for on-campus housing that the university has faced in recent years. The new hall is also expected to increase recruitment and retention rates, which will help UK reach its goal of becoming a Top 20 university, Crutcher said.

“We don’t have enough on-campus housing right now,” Crutcher said. “This project will help to expand our inventory of housing that’s available to all students who want to live on campus.”