One all-women’s residence hall at Kansas University will open to men, and one more Jayhawker Tower building is in line for renovations as part of scheduled housing improvements.
Jayhawker Tower D will become the next tower to be remodeled next year, followed by Gertrude Sellards Pearson Hall, 500 W. 11th St., in 2011 and 2012. That hall will become co-educational after the renovations.
After those two renovations, work is scheduled to begin on McCollum Hall, KU’s largest residence hall. It will be completed in phases.
Jayhawker Towers A and D will be the only two renovated towers completed for now, said Diana Robertson, director of student housing. Tower A serves as home to many student-athletes, and was expedited at the request of Kansas Athletics and men’s basketball coach Bill Self.
The tower D renovations are expected to cost $5.2 million. Some costs are paid for using an increased charge for residents living in the newly renovated rooms. For example, for a person living in a nonrenovated four-person apartment in Jayhawker Towers, the yearly cost is $2,836. For the newer apartments, the cost is $3,630 per year.
GSP’s renovations are estimated to cost $13.1 million. The improvements are needed, said Kelsey Connolly, a freshman from Stilwell who lives in the hall. She said there’s no way to control the heating or air conditioning in the room beyond opening and closing a vent or a window.
Unlike many other recently remodeled residence halls, bathrooms are shared among those living on the same floor, she said. The new renovations call for more suite-style rooms to be installed as the occupancy goes from the current 920 to 776 once work is completed.
“It definitely is due,” Connolly said.
She said that while she initially enjoyed living with all women, if she had to choose to do it again, she’d probably pick a co-ed hall so she could meet more people.
“It’s mainly all sorority girls (living in GSP), so you’re kind of stuck in that environment,” she said.
Nearby Corbin Hall will remain women-only, making it the last residence hall on the KU campus not open to both men and women.
Requests for single-gender space have declined over the years, Robertson said.
She said the exact nature of the GSP renovations had yet to be determined, and would be done in consultation with residents.
“You gain privacy in suites, but you lose some of the interaction and community,” Robertson said. “We get lots of requests for single-person rooms and private baths, but that comes at a higher cost.”
She said KU selects which halls to improve based on a number of factors, including the age of the building and the shape it’s in. Some buildings are used year-round for events such as summer camps, she said.
The department received approval for an average 2.65 percent rate increase this year, but Robertson said it was trying to balance funding needs with the needs of students and their families. The increase will be used partially to keep up with bond payments from construction done in previous years.
“We’re trying to be real conscientious with that,” she said.