Eastern Kentucky University fraternities and sororities will be included in discussions about future housing arrangements on the Richmond campus.
Todd and Dupree Halls, commonly known as the Greek Towers, will come down sometime in the next few years as the University continues its campus-wide revitalization process, particularly in the heart of campus, and addresses a need for more modern housing options. The EKU Board of Regents recently approved razing Todd, Dupree and Martin residence halls and substituting on the same sites new, suite-style residential housing, to be financed by public-private partnerships. The Board also approved the demolition of about 40 housing units in the 700/800 area of Brockton.
Billy Martin, executive director of student life and auxiliary services, emphasized that, while the exact timetable for the work is yet to be determined, the EKU Greek community will have a voice in the decision-making process.
“The Board’s approval was a necessary part of the process to begin working on a housing plan,” Martin said. “As we work with our master planning firm to determine the timetable for demolition and construction, we will work with the Greek community and involve the general University community as well to be sure the needs of all our on-campus residents are met. As we move forward, we are very committed to involving people this will affect in the process. Whatever is decided, the Greek community will be part of that decision.”
The earliest the work would begin (on Martin Hall and Brockton) is the Spring 2016 semester, but Martin stressed that any demolition and construction would occur “sequentially, so that we minimize the impact on our students and maintain our capacity to meet student housing needs.” Todd and Dupree halls will be addressed last. “The work needs to be done in phases, so we won’t be taking them all down in the Spring.”
Whenever the work is complete, the end result will be approximately 1,500 new suite-style rooms.
The housing initiative is part of the University’s effort to remain competitive for students, Martin said, adding, “We need to be sure our timeline is aggressive.”
Dupree and Todd halls, which opened in 1964, are 11 stories and house approximately 340 students each. Martin Hall, which opened in 1962, is four stories and houses up to 400 students. Those three facilities were selected, Martin said, because they could not easily be upgraded to a format today’s students demand.
The move to modernize the University’s housing stock also dovetails with the University’s commitment to student success. Studies have shown that students who live on campus are more likely to persevere and graduate.
“We want our students to live on campus,” Martin said, “and we want them to be successful.”