Campus News

UK Board of Trustees approves plan for next phase of student housing

Students walk on campus on the first day of classes. Arden Barnes | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 5, 2023) Record enrollment and high demand for on-campus housing has led to the planning for the next phase of residence hall construction on campus with the Board of Trustees also approving a plan to seek legislative authority for the construction of Phase IV of the university’s student housing project that began in 2011.

The approval authorizes UK to negotiate and enter into a pre-development agreement and a long-term lease with Greystar Real Estate for the development and management of a proposed $81 million four-story building for undergraduate students that will include approximately 644 beds and be located at the former site of the Kirwan/Blanding complex.

“We know that students perform better inside the classroom and are more involved outside the classroom when they live on campus,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “This plan will enable more students to take advantage of these important benefits, allowing us to continue our momentum to recruit, retain and graduate even more students in the years to come. Building upon this momentum is critical as we support the workforce needs of our state — a key goal in our mission to advance Kentucky.”

In addition to record enrollment of nearly 34,000 students, demand for living on UK’s campus is at an all-time high. While there is no requirement for undergraduate students to live on campus, about 85% of first-year students choose to live in the residence halls as well as an increasing number of returning students.

In 2011, the average age of the university’s residence halls was 44 years. The Board of Trustees identified the need to expand and improve student housing facilities as a strategic priority based on data that showed increasing student dissatisfaction with both housing and dining and on Dec. 13, 2011, the university announced it would negotiate with EdR (now Greystar), a third-party developer, to improve, expand and potentially manage student housing.

In 2017, UK completed a four-year project to add more than 6,800 beds in 14 new state-of-the-art residence halls as part of its public-private partnership strategy. For Fall 2023, UK has a total of 8,100 beds available for students. Approximately 1,900 students moved into Tri-It spaces, which were transformed from two to three-person suites to accommodate more on-campus housing beginning in Fall 2023.

Following obtaining legislative authorization, an affiliation agreement between the university and Greystar for the Phase IV student housing project is expected to be negotiated and executed.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.