The first bit of dirt has been turned on the University of Kentucky’s first new residence hall since 2005. As Josh James reports, the hall is considered Phase I of a project that could become the largest public/private partnership of its kind at a major university. Only months after its proposal, UK’s New Central Residence Hall – a 600 bed, $30 million dollar investment that university officials hope will be the first step in a plan to revitalize the core of campus – is set to begin construction.
"We are embarking today upon the boldest and most unique housing initiative in higher education," UK president Eli Capilouto said at the groundbreaking.
UK is partnering with collegiate housing developer EdR to construct the new dorm. The company’s president and CEO, Randy Churchey, says the project will take on a new scope in Phase II, when it’s set to assume responsibility for most of university’s housing units. That will also require some concessions from EdR.
"The university wanted certain protections, which we fully understood. They wanted to have limits on the amount we could increase the rental rates. That made a lot of sense. They wanted to be able to control the residence life faction of the students' experience on campus. We thought that made a lot of sense as well," he said.
As for Phase I, UK Student Government President Micah Fielden says students are eager to move in to the new residence hall.
"What we're talking about is going from the old 1960s feel of communal bathrooms and small rooms to big suite style rooms, that are very customizable and moveable. Things like built in fridges and microwaves, things you don't have to worry about," he said.
The new hall, which will be built on Haggin Field, is scheduled for full occupancy in fall 2013.