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UK's SBI Complex leaves students with much to be desired

A lonely bike strapped to a bike rack is the only occupant of Smith Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, at Smith Hall on the University of Kentucky’s campus in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Carter Skaggs | Kentucky Kernel Staff.

Some students at the University of Kentucky struggle with enjoying their college experience due to their living situation.

UK has a total of 20 dorms divided between their north and central campuses.

Most have the style of a two-bedroom suite, however, seven of their dorms offer a four-person suite style.

Those dorms include: Donovan Hall, Lyman T. Johnson Hall, Haggin Hall, Roselle Hall, Smith Hall, Baldwin Hall and Ingles Hall.

“I do not like living in Baldwin Hall, I feel like living there has deprived me of opportunities and luxuries I could be experiencing if I were in another dorm,” freshman Brayden Pickle said.

Baldwin Hall is located on central campus and is a part of the SBI (Smith, Baldwin and Ingles) Complex.

The SBI Complex was created in 2005, and all three dorms have a traditional, single-room style set up, which some students have had a hard time acclimating to.

“Having to adjust to living in a space where my roommate's bed is like two feet away really doesn’t help me at all as far as grades and personal time,” Elijah Williams said.

Within these dorms there is no separation of space and everything is open, unlike in Donovan Hall, Johnson Hall and Haggin Hall, where there is a wall there to separate roommates living in the dorm suite.

But compared to the 13 other dorms, students lack the opportunity to have their own room, sharing the space with three other people.

Although there are seven dorms with this layout, the SBI Complex is not newly-renovated like the others.

“Realistically, we try to provide the same level of good, engagement and support that you receive at any other residence hall. There is nothing fundamentally different than that, the biggest difference I see is just the room format,” said Adam Blevins, resident director of the SBI Complex.

Blevins, who has been in the resident director position since July, said helping the transition and accommodating needs has been his biggest focus since the year started but acknowledged that more could be done.

Each dorm has three floors and no more than 190 residents including resident advisors.

The resident advisors are the only students within the dorms who have their own room and shower.

“It is way better, everything in my life has increased, my grades and just the privacy aspect. It’s really sad because I feel like if you’re not an [resident advisor] in SBI then, for me the quality of the dorm, to me, is really bad,” Williams said.

Williams spent his first semester as a resident of Ingles Hall before switching to being a resident advisor in Smith Hall starting this year.

Most students don’t get that opportunity.

“I don’t think any dorms on our campus are terrible or bad considering what I’ve seen at other schools. But I love mine and couldn’t really imagine myself being in another one,” said Demi Handley, a resident of Holmes Hall.

Although the dorms in the SBI Complex feature a more traditional layout, residents do not have to use a community bathroom, which is different from other schools.

However, some students feel renovations should occur to equal out the experience.

“I wholeheartedly believe that they should renovate the old dorms. For students living in the old dorms, it is so disheartening to know that you are supposed to be treated as equal to any other student, but they get the luxury of living in dorms that resemble a small apartment. I believe that is the best thing they could do to make campus a better place,” Pickle said.

Students indicated that they feel like they didn’t get the best experience having to live in SBI Complex dorms while knowing what other dorms are offered on campus..

Many students did not end up in these dorms by choice, largely due to a heavy influx of freshmen this past year.

“In terms of remodeling, I think that beautification could always go a long way, just making sure that all of our fixtures are working and that we’re taking the time to invest into the facilities to update them. But in terms of the room format themselves, I don’t think remodeling is necessary,” Blevins said.


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