Boyd, Jewell halls closing next year

UK plans to close two of its 22 residence halls next year because of low student occupancy, saving University Housing about $300,000 in the process.

Boyd and Jewell halls on North Campus will not reopen next year, said Ben Crutcher, associate vice president of auxiliary services.

“The main reason Jewell came to the top of the stack is the 60 percent occupancy, and that it has no air conditioning,” Crutcher said in a meeting with Jewell Hall residents last night.

Crutcher said for the housing program to not lose money, residence halls need to be at least 90 percent occupied. This year, an average of 61 percent of Jewell Hall’s 108 beds were used. An average of 82 percent of Boyd Hall’s 137 beds were used. The money saved by the closings will pay resident advisers, maintenance staff and other departmental costs, Crutcher said.

What will be done with Boyd and Jewell halls is not known yet, Crutcher said. If enough people apply to university housing, some will be placed in Jewell Hall until new spaces open up. A high number of housing applications might mean Jewell or Boyd halls would have to reopen for the 2009-10 school year.

“At some point and time, the building will be vacant, and we’ll work with the university on how it should be used,” Crutcher said.

Fewer maintenance workers and RAs will be needed for North Campus, but no current staff members will lose their jobs as a result, Crutcher said. Employees on North Campus may be moved to somewhere different on campus.

Jewell and Boyd hall residents reapplying to housing will receive high priority for their second option. They can also change their dormitory preferences by going to the University Housing office in 125 Funkhouser Building.

Boyd is one of the two residence halls that house most Honors Program students. Honors students meeting the March 1 priority deadline will be placed in the other, air-conditioned Honors Program dorm, Patterson Hall, or in nearby Holmes Hall.

The Honors Program uses a classroom in Boyd about one hour a week and is looking for a replacement room, Crutcher said.

Boyd also has the only computer lab on North Campus. UK’s Information Technology department has already been informed of the change, and the lab may be moved to one of the other halls on campus, Crutcher said.

Since many students use the computer lab in Boyd Hall to print, University Housing is looking at setting up a network printer elsewhere that would allow wireless users to print, Crutcher said.

Kevin Wieman, a Jewell Hall resident who heard Crutcher speak last night, said his grandmother was one of the first people to move into Jewell Hall after it was built in 1939.

Living in Jewell this year has fostered a sense of community, and Wieman said he would miss it.

“We have dinner every Sunday,” said Wieman, a mechanical engineering junior. “For the most part, it’s a real family thing.”