No one was surprised last week when a consultant’s report to the Council on Postsecondary Education found that Jackson and Bradford halls at Kentucky State University are badly in need of major renovation, least of all officials at KSU.
Indeed, both major KSU administration and classroom facilities have been high on the university’s wish list for renovation for some years.
But to her credit, KSU President Mary Sias has set a higher priority for use of limited state facilities funds on dormitory renovations. The state of student housing was such when Sias arrived on campus that she readily admitted she would not want her children living in KSU dorms.
Much of that work is completed, and now it is time to put Jackson and Bradford halls at the top of the list for renovations.
Council consultants also found that the Atwood Agriculture Research Building needs serious work, and they suggest that two maintenance and shop/warehouse structures be demolished.
As the oldest building on campus, the 119-year-old Jackson Hall is an important and historic structure that deserves careful preservation as a link to the university’s past.
As for Bradford Hall, the consultants found many of its classrooms inadequate for the courses taught in them and recommended the building either be substantially renovated or demolished. The question for KSU is which alternative is the most economical.
The Agriculture Research building needs additional classroom space and upgraded heating and cooling systems.
The infrastructure needs at KSU are very small in comparison to the more than $12 billion in new and renovated building requirements throughout Kentucky’s higher education system as outlined to the Council last week. But they are most important to the students, faculty and administrators at Kentucky’s smallest and historically black university.
When the General Assembly at last gets around to approving $370 million for mostly university building projects, we hope legislators will bear that in mind when it comes to support for the needs at Kentucky State.