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New UK Student Housing Construction Approved

Contact: Ralph Derickson

Photo of Kirwan Blanding Complex
Kirwan Blanding Complex

The new housing will consist of suite-style units located in the Kirwan/Blanding Complex (440 spaces), Martin Luther King Boulevard and Euclid Avenue (144 spaces), and Lexington Avenue (100 spaces).


May 6, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today approved a new student housing construction project that will add 684 spaces to the UK housing inventory at a cost of $46 million, financed by the sale of housing and dining bonds.

The board heard a report on the Robinson Scholars Program, showing the endowment for the program will be “exhausted” by 2008 at its current level of spending, and a committee report establishing new criteria that UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. is expected to meet to receive the annual $100,000 bonus called for in his employment contract.

The report on the president’s bonus criteria was presented by board member Elissa Plattner of Camp Springs, Ky. In her report, Plattner also highly commended Mrs. Patsy Todd for creating a “welcoming and inclusive environment” at UK for students and their families.

The bonus criteria fall under three categories calling for the president to:

-- Create leadership responses and innovative solutions to issues affecting and afflicting the Commonwealth and its citizens,
-- Establish initiatives to respond to special or extraordinary circumstances, and
-- Take strategic risks and challenges as potential opportunities to improve the university.

Board Finance Committee Chairman Paul W. Chellgren said planning for the new student housing is “on a fast track” and construction is expected to be completed by the fall semester of 2005.

The new housing will consist of suite-style units located in the Kirwan/Blanding Complex (440 spaces), Martin Luther King Boulevard and Euclid Avenue (144 spaces), and Lexington Avenue (100 spaces).

UK’s Housing and Dining System now has 5,124 beds in residence halls and Greg Page Apartments for undergraduate students. To place 672 students, the university is also leasing 180 apartments from University Commons, located about 1.5 miles from campus.

Susan Krauss, director of endowment and investment in the UK Office of the Controller, outlined the financial status of the Robinson Scholars Program that is funded with an endowment from mining revenue from the E.O. Robinson Forest in Eastern Kentucky.

Krauss said $9.7 million will be left in the endowment by March 2003 and that the quasi endowment will be exhausted by 2008 if no new revenue is found, “leaving the program’s future in jeopardy.”

The Robinson Scholars program endowment was established in April 1992 with total revenues of $35.6 million. The Robinson Scholars program is one of several supported by the endowment.

Robinson Scholars are selected when they are eighth graders. If they meet certain criteria, they receive full tuition and room and board at UK or a Kentucky community college. The initial group of 162 Robinson Scholars were chosen in 1997 and should graduate by 2005.

Now, 29 scholars – one from each of 29 selected Eastern Kentucky counties – are chosen for the program.

Robinson Scholars Program Director Bradley Goan said 90 percent of the Robinson Scholars enroll in college after high school graduation. He also noted that the Robinson Scholars’ grade point averages are equal to or somewhat better than the other members of their entering classes.

Two of the Robinson Scholars, both biology majors, attended today’s board meeting and thanked board members for their support of the unique program. Carly Rice, a sophomore from Grayson in Carter County, said being named a Robinson Scholar in the eighth grade gave her “peace of mind knowing my dreams were attainable. I knew I had to go to college, but I didn't know how until then.”

Justin Holbrook, a freshman from Whitesburg in Letcher County, said being named a Robinson Scholar “became the driving force” propelling him to a college career.

In other action, the UK Board of Trustees:

  • Accepted a gift, an option on 20.38 acres of property in Clark County from the Winchester-Clark County Industrial Authority. The property is valued at $509,500. It will become the site of the new Winchester campus of the Lexington Community College if sufficient private funds can be raised to construct a classroom building on the property.
  • Accepted a $300,000 gift and a gift-in-kind of $330,000 from Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) of Aichi, Japan, to support the painting research of Kozo Saito in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Adopted a resolution amending the way the alumni member of the UK Board of Trustees is elected by expanding the window of time in which the election can be conducted and permitting online voting for the position.
  • Confirmed the appointments of Steven L. Hoch as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Beth E. Barnes as director of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications in the College of Communications and Information Studies.

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