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Outdoor classrooms coming to University of Kentucky's campus

Torie Buerger studies outside of the William T. Young Library on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, at University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Morgan Simmons | Kentucky Kernel Staff.

On Sept. 16, 2022, the University of Kentucky announced that they are making campus renovations which include outdoor classrooms as part of the new Alumni Commons on Rose Street.

There are already some outdoor studying spaces on campus, like the Gatton Student Center's balconies and two outdoor classrooms in the Jacobs Science Building's courtyard, but most of the university's studying spaces are indoors. These include Common Grounds, the William T. Young Library, The Study, Starbucks and more.

These outdoor classrooms will provide more learning and studying spaces for students on campus as well as provide a common space for students to hang out. The Alumni Commons classroom will include features different to that of the JSB outdoor classrooms such as lawn seating, patios and garden areas, a fountain fixture and more, according to a news release.

This project is estimated to cost around $9 million, according to University of Kentucky campus news and the project is aiming to be completed by July 2023.

“The idea sounds great, but I think it may be more beneficial to younger kids because they are the ones that are stuck in a classroom for a longer time,” said junior finance and accounting major Carly Clark. “College students have the ability to pick their own schedule, so they may not be used as much.”

Senior nursing major Maddy Smith is spending a lot of time out of classrooms and in hospitals now, but she said she still sees the benefit of not staying in a classroom all day.

“Outdoor classrooms would be good for you. You get vitamin D, and studies show natural light helps improve your brain function,” Smith said.

Smith said she would love to be taught in an outdoor classroom and that it is a great opportunity to get out of the normal classroom setting and out into something new.


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