Campus News

Housing Request for Proposals Released — Part of Capilouto’s Plans to Rebuild, Renew Campus Core

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 26, 2011) – University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said a request for proposals (RFP) released this week is an important step in fully exploring and evaluating the best way to finance the construction of thousands of new residence hall beds over the next several years on the UK campus.

“As a student-first institution, we must begin now with a sense of urgency the process of rebuilding and renewing the core of our campus,” Capilouto said. “But in doing so, we must move strategically and methodically with a financing plan that is in the best interests of the university and the students and families we serve.”

To that end, Capilouto said the RFP contemplates the selection of a developer that would work with UK over two phases, if the private development option is chosen. A private developer could be chosen at the Board of Trustees' December meeting. The two phases outlined in the RFP include:

  • First phase: Building a new 600-bed, $30 million residence hall, starting in spring 2012 with completion in fall 2013, next to Haggin Hall on University Drive. The residence hall would focus on Honors students and high-tech learning opportunities. The university already has authorization from the General Assembly to issue bonds, if it chooses to internally finance construction of the new residence hall.
  • Second phase: Tearing down and rebuilding some 4,000 residence hall beds and eventually adding another 4,000 or so beds, to give the university roughly 9,000 modern beds on campus. Currently, UK has 5,148 residence hall beds, only 684 of which are modern. About 90 percent of freshmen and 24 percent of undergraduates overall live on campus.

Future building sites are projected to include projects on North Campus to replace Blazer, Boyd, Jewell and Holmes Hall.  Projects on Central Campus would include replacement of the Kirwan/Blanding complex.  Ultimately, graduate and family housing would be consolidated south of Alumni Drive at existing graduate housing of Shawneetown and Greg Page Apartments.  

The building process would occur sequentially, be contained on existing campus boundaries and take several years, university officials said. A committee, composed of administrators, faculty, students and staff, will review proposals from private developers.  Other universities across the country have evaluated similar partnerships to develop residence halls.

At the same time, the university also is evaluating the ability of the institution to finance construction of residence halls internally.  Capilouto added that as the process moves forward he is committed to initiating and continuing a dialogue with the campus community and neighborhoods to "ensure that we are working in a spirit of partnership and openness."

The residence halls are part of a larger framework for campus rebuilding and renewal that Capilouto outlined to the Board of Trustees this week as part of an effort to enhance the undergraduate educational experience at UK. Modern living and learning spaces – through new residence halls – are a critical piece of that effort as studies show that students living on campus tend to perform better academically and have a stronger sense of community and involvement.

Other initial financial and facility planning involves:

  • Planning for $400 million to $500 million for new academic, research and student support buildings.
  • Planning for additional self-financed projects to improve and expand the infrastructure of UK HealthCare and athletics.
  • Evaluating potential funding sources, including increased philanthropy, partnerships, smart growth of the student body, continued investments by the state and improved efficiencies.
  • Capilouto this week also announced plans to “launch a dynamic Honors Academy in fall 2012 which will serve as a magnet for the best and the brightest high school graduates in Kentucky and beyond. Capilouto told trustees that process will involve evaluating how to expand scholarship opportunities, strengthening advising and creating more opportunities for faculty-student mentoring.

For details of the RFP, go to: