Former residents reflect on times in Boyd, Jewell halls

By Hayley Schletker

Lauren Ditsch remembers a day when she hit a golf ball into a dorm bathroom — and how the golf game among Boyd Hall residents continued to Memorial Coliseum.

“The second floor girl’s bathroom was the first ‘hole,’ and the only rules were that whoever had the fewest strokes won,” Ditsch said in an e-mail. “And if by chance a window or a light got busted, it was every man for himself.”

From “shower parties” to study groups, the residents found creative ways to get through the school years. But Boyd and Jewell Hall, both located on North Campus, will not reopen next year because of low occupancy, UK announced last month.

Ditsch, an accounting senior who lived in Boyd for two years, said that the atmosphere of Boyd separates it from other dorms. She said that sense of community has existed in Boyd since her father lived there in the late 1970s.

David Ditsch, now a member of UK’s faculty, said the small number of people living in Boyd Hall made it easy to be close to everyone in the building.

“There was something satisfying about being a survivor of Boyd Hall’s tiny rooms, pipes hanging from the ceiling, no air conditioning, a heating system that was hotter than the door hedges of hell and bathrooms with no urinals,” Ditsch said in an e-mail.

Paulo Stochaj, a biology senior who lived in Jewell Hall and had several classes in Boyd, said Jewell was a cozy living atmosphere and it would be a waste for it to just sit there.

“They’re just buildings,” Stochaj said in an e-mail, “but they have a sentimental value to me as a UK student.”

Johannah Oldiges, an English senior who lived in Boyd during the 2004-05 school year, said she got to know most of the people who lived in the dorm with her.

“People would study in the study room together, hang out in the TV area, and the best part was that anyone passing by could join the group already hanging out,” Oldiges said in an e-mail. “That’s how friendly Boyd was. It was really a community.”

Even at times when the building’s age was a factor, the sense of community made mishaps bearable, she said. Oldiges and her roommate had to move in with another student for a period of time because part of the ceiling in their room collapsed.

“The best part is, rumor has it that the ceiling collapsed after one of the boys upstairs did a cannonball off his top bunk,” she said in the message. “But I can neither confirm nor deny that story.”

UK graduates agree that Boyd and Jewell brought residents together.

“Boyd Hall had a pretty eclectic group of people,” said John Vice, who lived in Boyd Hall during the mid-1990s. “We shared the same tastes. We would stay up all night discussing philosophy and playing cards.”

But Vice also said that the condition of the dorms could be improved. He said many nights during August and September were spent in the lobby, because it was the only part of the building with air conditioning.

As long as there were rooms to replace the ones being closed, Vice said it would be possible to create that atmosphere in better conditions.

Many students still think the buildings should be used for sentimental reasons: The group “Save Boyd Hall” on Facebook currently has almost 200 members who share memories about what made Boyd Hall an important part of their UK experience.