Hello, everyone. This is your February 21, 2012 Board of Trustees update. The entire agenda is available at http://www.uky.edu/Trustees/agenda/full/2012/feb/welcome.html.
The meeting began with the swearing in of the new faculty trustee, John F. Wilson (Medicine/Behavioral Science). Shortly thereafter, the Board honored longtime assistant to the Board, Peggy Way, for her decades of service in the President’s office.
As part of PR 1, President Capilouto introduced Dr. Margaret Szabunio, associate medical director of the Comprehensive Breast Care Center and division chief of women’s radiology at UK HealthCare. She talked to the Board about her specialization in using tomosynthesis in the early detection of breast cancer. (See http://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/tomosynthesis-announcement/ for a complete article..)
PR 4 involved a number of changes to a variety of Governing Regulations. There were a few questions about wording changes, specifically the changes to the Values section in GR I. Board Chair Britt Brockman suggested that the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee review the language prior to the March Board meeting.
The agenda item that I found to be the most interesting was FCR 8, “Authorization of Ground Lease for Student Housing.” http://www.uky.edu/Trustees/agenda/full/2012/feb/fcr8.pdf The Board was given a number of educational sessions and Q&As with various administrators prior to the Board meeting. There were so many opportunities to ask questions in advance that there was not much discussion during the actual Board meeting. One trustee asked for confirmation that the vote of the Board was for one residence hall, and that was confirmed. I asked for confirmation that UK’s plan was for UK employees currently employed at Haggin Hall (the first residence hall to be torn down, in late summer 2013) will be reassigned to similar University assignments, with no change in start date, leave accruals, health benefits, etc. I was assured that that was the case.
I encourage you to review the link to FCR 8, above. There is a draft, bulleted list of the terms of the ground lease between UK and Education Reality Trust (EdR) which really explains a lot. Below are a few pieces of information that I found interesting.
· UK’s newest residence halls were built around 2005, so our “new” residence halls are seven years old. Prior to that, the last residence halls were opened in 1967.
· Over 700 students, including some returning freshmen, are turned away annually due to an insufficient number of beds. Studies show that students, particularly freshmen and sophomores, are more likely to succeed if they live in campus housing.
· Assuming UK’s past housing rate increases continue at the same level through 2013, when the new dorm on Haggin Field opens, the price of UK’s premium rooms (the dorms built in 2005) will be about $150 per semester cheaper than EdR’s new premium rooms. EdR’s average annual rate increases have hovered around 3.4 percent, while UK’s annual increases have traditionally been around 5.4%.
· While the Board discussed one new residence hall, in reality it will be two separate buildings, each built in a U-shape with outdoor space in the center of the U, including an amphitheater suitable for small classes.
· The new residence hall rooms will be about 170 square feet larger than UK’s current premium rooms (2 double rooms with one shared bath).
· Microwaves and refrigerators will be standard in every room. Not only can EdR guarantee more energy efficient units (as opposed to a unit that a student’s brother used eight years ago), but leaving the units in the rooms will reduce wear and tear on the building. Also, when the microwave turns on, the refrigerator will power off. Just a little more energy savings!
· EdR will seek silver LEED certification for the residence hall. On a related note, and a first for UK, the residence hall will be heated and cooled with geothermal power.
· To further the concept of living/learning communities, there will be three smart classrooms in the basement of one of the buildings, as well as office space for the Honors Program.
As you may know, this is very likely laying the groundwork for a campuswide agreement with EdR to manage all of UK’s campus housing. What the Board voted on during the February meeting, though, was for one residence hall. Moving ahead with other residence halls will require further, additional Board action.
My opinion is that this is a bold, creative step for UK to take. I believe that improved student housing will help UK enroll and retain students at higher levels. On the most basic level, our students deserve better facilities. Once housing is addressed, I suspect the President will begin the task of improving the rest of our buildings and office space.
I remain honored to serve each of you. If you want to reach me, I am easily accessible via email (email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org) and on the phone (7-5872). Enjoy the coming spring break!