UK Housing to blame for Boyd and Jewell mess

Students in Jewell Hall probably won’t be unpacking their clothes and decorating their dormitory rooms anytime soon, thanks to UK’s temporary housing problem.

UK received more than 5,500 housing applications this year, forcing Campus Housing to re-open Jewell, a dorm that closed its doors in May.

The outdated North Campus facility doesn’t have air conditioning, but the university couldn’t accommodate the amount of applications it received. The result is temporary housing that has many students in limbo about where they will be living. UK Housing can only point the blame in one direction – itself.

At the time, Jewell Hall and Boyd Hall weren’t at full capacity, so the university decided to close the money-guzzlers, according to a Kernel article on Wednesday. But in closing the dorms, the university acknowledged that they could be used again if UK received too many housing applications, according to the article.

If that was the case, why didn’t UK find a more feasible solution than sticking students in temporary housing? Poor planning on Campus Housing’s behalf is to blame.

If the university knew it could run into this problem in the foreseeable future, it should have been prepared and not forced students into a temporary and unpleasant living situation.

The university has more than its share of resources to cut a deal with neighboring apartment complexes to allow for student living for the 2008-09 school year. In the meantime, UK could knock down Jewell and Boyd and build more updated and serviceable living quarters to avoid the problem from happening in the future.

Instead, the university is putting students in a terrible bind by placing them in a temporary living situation. It’s adding even more stress to what is already a hectic week for students, especially freshmen.

Imagine moving in your freshman year, trying to get adjusted to a new place and new life, and then being uprooted because the university finally found an extra bed. Talk about a bad first impression of college.

UK strives to increase retention rates every year.  Well, things like this are what drive new students away from the university.  And who can blame them?

It adds uncertainty to an already uncertain time of the year. If this university is trying to do its best to open new students to its campus with open arms, it’s doing an unacceptable job.

UK isn’t forcing students to move into the temporary housing if they don’t find a dorm for them, but the only other option is for students to remain on the waitlist, which really accomplishes nothing. After all, what’s a person outside of Lexington to do during their first few weeks of classes without a place to stay? Live on the streets? That’s hardly an option.

In the end, it all comes down to planning, and UK certainly dropped the ball on that.  A plan to move students into a dorm for a few weeks and then move them right back out simply isn’t the best course of action.  And it makes UK Housing seem incompetent.

Before this happens again, UK must plan for the future. Cut a deal with an apartment complex. Start building new dorms now. Just make sure this temporary living situation doesn’t happen again.