MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--During the last four years, the University of Kentucky (UK) campus has experienced a major transformation —which includes the largest on-campus housing revitalization in American public higher education. EdR (NYSE:EDR), one of the nation’s leading developers, owners and managers of collegiate housing, is the university’s partner in this massive housing revitalization program that is also serving as a model for other universities who are facing outdated residence halls and reduced state support.
Since 2012, UK has initiated — or is about to begin — more than $1.8 billion in construction projects, focused on living-learning communities and dining spaces, as well as classroom and research facilities. The over-arching goal is to create one of the pre-eminent living, learning and research environments in American public higher education.
The success of UK’s first four years of this transformation is evidenced most recently in preliminary 2015-2016 enrollment numbers.
"This fall's first-year class, and our overall enrollment, testifies to the progress we've made in achieving our goal to be a first-choice university for the best students, faculty and staff," said Dr. Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky.
Last year, UK enrolled its largest, most diverse and academically prepared first-year class in its history. This year’s enrollment statistics continue this impressive trend.
- A larger campus, educating more students: With 5,217 students this fall, it's the second consecutive year, UK has had more than 5,000 students in its first-year class as well as the second consecutive year the university has had more than 30,000 students overall. It's a 21 percent increase in first-year students since 2010.
- The most academically prepared: The average ACT of first-year students is 25.5; the average GPA is 3.68; 117 students in this class are National Merit, Hispanic and Achievement Scholars and more than 700 students had ACT/SAT scores of 31 or above
- An increasingly diverse campus: Nearly 560 students in this first-year class are African Americans, more than 10 percent of the class; 265 are Hispanic. The UK campus is now the most diverse in its history.
- Increased retention: UK's first-to-second year retention was a record 82.7 percent, with the largest ever-returning cohort of students at 4,253. The six-year graduation rate is 61 percent, the second highest in the school's history.
EdR has partnered with UK leadership during these last four years to help create and build ten living-learning facilities with nearly 4,600 beds.
Each residence hall is dedicated to specific academic communities — Honors, healthcare, agriculture, sustainability, and science, technology, engineering and math, to mention only a few. The state-of-the-art residential colleges include related academic offices, active learning spaces such as classrooms, and group and individual study areas furnished with enhanced presentation and computer equipment, dining and recreation areas.
UK students approve of the transformation. Along with modern housing that breaks the “not your parents’ dorm room” mold, the residents benefit from increased interactions with UK faculty and staff, special academic programming and a supportive community. The new student housing communities are nearly 140% applied for each year.
The university’s public/private partnership with EdR has been recognized across the nation for the scope and speed of the transformation.
The largest on-campus housing development in American public higher education to date, the University of Kentucky’s revitalization began in late 2011 when the Board of Trustees saw an opportunity for investment in student success by enhancing the undergraduate experience with new living-learning communities. By spring 2012, UK and EdR formalized a partnership and broke ground on the first phase— a 601-bed community dedicated to UK’s Honors program and students that opened just 16 months later in August 2013.
Since then, EdR and UK have opened new communities each year: In 2014, five buildings with 2,381 beds opened; in 2015, three buildings with 1,610 beds were completed and opened. More than 1,140 beds are on schedule to open in two buildings in 2016; and approximately 771 beds will be added in 2017 to appeal to upper class and graduate students.
These accomplishments and developments add up to more than 6,400 beds in 19 living-learning residence communities from 2012 to 2017.
“Public-private partnerships are gaining the attention of more universities with goals to replace older and technically insufficient on-campus housing and attract and retain quality students,” said Randy Churchey, EdR’s chief executive officer and chairman of the board.
EdR has financed UK’s housing revitalization through its On-Campus Equity Plan — The ONE PlanSM — which uses the company’s equity and financial stability to fund projects on university land. This program gives the university access to a single trusted partner, and helps create substantial long-term financial benefits for EdR and UK.
By using EdR’s equity for the housing revitalization, UK has been able to focus their resources to upgrade and add academic, research, athletic facilities and student centers which has revitalized and enhanced the entire campus.
In their agreement, EdR provides financing, oversees development and construction, and is responsible for maintenance and management while UK provides residence life services.
“We’re proud of these communities, our partnership with UK, and their on-going success,” said Churchey. This accomplishment is a credit to UK’s vision, and to the EdR teams whose daily actions move our partnerships, developments and our company forward.”
One of America's largest owners, developers and managers of collegiate housing, EdR (NYSE:EDR) is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust that owns or manages 81 communities with more than 42,000 beds serving 52 universities in 23 states. EdR is a member of the Russell 2000 Index and the Morgan Stanley REIT indices. For details, please visit the Company's Web site at www.EdRtrust.com.
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