Townhouses to be built on campus this yearBy VICTORIA ENGELHARDT
GC students love many things about the college, including the classes and quality of the faculty and staff, but very few would say they love the current housing options. East Campus is great for the 128 students who are fortunate enough to live there, but for the rest of the student body, housing isn’t nearly as great. The administration and the Board of Trustees have heard students complaining and are doing something about this situation.
The first step in the right direction is finally happening, and possibly by Aug. 15 of this year, there will be new housing on campus. Yes, you read that correctly: new housing on campus, ready in less than a year.
Students have all heard talk about new residence halls in the past, but this time one is actually going to be built, thanks to a builder who is willing to do everything at cost and the willingness of the Board of Trustees and the administration to support the project.
Before Thanksgiving break, Dr. Gambill spoke with Residence Life staff, members of the Student Government Association and other students in the Caf. He showed them three options for new housing and got their feedback about which they liked best.
Using the results of the students surveyed and the professional intuition of a committee comprised of Jim Moak, CFO, Darryl Callahan, Assistant to the President and Legal Counsel and Dr. Gambill, a recommendation was given to the president.
The new housing will not be a residence hall, but instead will be a series of 14 townhouses located on Dudley Ave. Each townhouse will be two stories tall and will hold six students, with two students sharing a bedroom and a bathroom. The downstairs will have a living area and one bedroom and bathroom, while upstairs will be the other two bedrooms and bathrooms. A common area will also be built, which would house the laundry facilities, a 24-hour visitation lounge and a full kitchen.
The townhouses will not have full kitchens, but will have sinks and full-sized refrigerators. The 14 townhouses will house 84 students, with additional parking added adjacent to them. Also planned is an expansion of the parking lot behind the Pike house, which will involve demolishing an old grocery store.
Dr. Gambill said of the new townhouses, “I hope students will get excited about the fact that we are trying to do something—and do it well—and that it will be something that students will be proud of.” This is just the first step in the right direction for Georgetown College, and if the townhouse model turns out to be a great success, more like them may be built in the future. The exact date for construction to start is unknown at this time, but it should be in either March or April, depending on the weather.
Dr. Gambill envisions the townhouses as a place where sophomores and above can live, but right now most of those details have not been worked out. One decision that has already been made is that students wishing to live in these townhouses will have to pay an approximately $1800 upcharge per year. There will also be a higher upcharge for living on East Campus beginning next school year, but at this time it is not known if it will cost more to live in the townhouses or on East. “Do I expect 400 students to be able to pay $1800 a year more to live in better housing? I don’t know,” says Dr. Gambill, “but I do think it is possible to get 84 students who are willing to pay more to live in the townhouses.” The same thinking goes for East Campus, but the dollar increase will not be known until next year.
The new housing project will cost less than $2 million, with the upcharge helping to fund the interest on the loan that is being taken out to finance the project. Dr. Gambill said, “We hope this new housing project will help us recruit or retain 30 or more students, which would help our bottom line.”
The great lie about the Board of TrusteesBy VICTORIA ENGELHARDT
The Georgetown College Board of Trustees may be the single most misunderstood organization on campus, at least to the student body.
At a small, liberal arts college, it is easy for students to take for granted the intimate relationships they develop with their teachers and staff and to expect those kind of relationships with others, including the administration and the school’s governing body, the Board of Trustees.
While some students do develop a rapport with different members of the administration on different levels, many feel isolated from them. This includes not only Dr. Gambill, Dean of Students and Dr. Allen, Provost of the College, but also President Crouch and the Board of Trustees.
The difference between the administration and the Board is that while the administration (Dr. Gambill and the rest of the Executive Cabinet) makes the day-to-day decisions, the Board provides them with the framework through which to make those decisions. It is easy for students to not trust the Board of Trustees or to have hard feelings toward them, because they do not see them as humans but more as figureheads. This is because the student body has limited interaction with the Board, which meets only three times a year.
But just because the Board only meets three times a year, it does not mean that its members feel as if they are just figureheads, nor does it mean that they do not truly care about Georgetown College. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
The members of the Board of Trustees are not all Georgetown alums—some have children or grandchildren who attended school here, some have no direct ties—and they are not all directly affected by the status of Georgetown College in the academic world, yet they still choose to serve. It leaves many wondering why. The answer lies within the purpose of the Board.
Many students wonder how individuals get on the Board. Quite a few assume that they are paid to have their name affiliated with our college and many think that they receive perks for doing business for the college. This is the great lie about the Trustees. B.I. Houston, Chairman of the Board, recently sat down for an interview where he explained that many different institutions have boards which serve in different capacities, but the Board at Georgetown College is unique because its members are there because they want to serve, not be served. No member of the Board of Trustees receives financial compensation for their service—in fact, all board members donate to the college as a part of their duties. They do not receive perks and they are not compensated in other ways— instead, they take pride in knowing that they are being the best stewards to Georgetown College that they can be by helping make the decisions that guide the college in many capacities. Mr. Houston explained that the Board has “fiduciary oversight responsibilities,” meaning that they are the people to whom the power and properties of Georgetown College are entrusted, for the benefit of the institution.
The members of the Board of Trustees are serving on the board, with the key word being “serving.” They serve the best interests of the college, whether or not they may happen to be on campus as often as others in the administration. Just because students do not see all of the hard work, time and dedication the board members put into Georgetown College does not mean that they are not actually working hard, dedicating their time and effort to make sure our college is strong financially, academically and socially. A prime example of this attitude of service is the fact that the new housing structures being built on Dudley are being built at cost by a Trustee, Jim Barlow, who will not be making a profit off of this project.
The members of our Board of Trustees care deeply and passionately about our institution and the students who attend it, even if that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Meeting with the Board on Saturday and having a frank, honest discussion of students’ perceptions about the Board was eye-opening in showing that the members are not serving for the reasons most commonly thought, but instead are deeply involved in setting the framework around which our college life revolves because they want GC to be a Christ-committed school that is open to the ideas and beliefs of others. They challenge each other on issues, but come to consensus based on what is best for the college, not themselves, so that their own personal motives do not get in the way. In the past, the Kentucky Baptist Convention has had a financial stake in our Board, but as of last year, those ties have been severed. With mutual respect, the decision was made that it was in the best interest of the college to no longer be affiliated with the KBC. In that way, our Board made a decision to lose funding in return for more freedom as to who serves on the board and what policies can be implemented throughout the college, and they also gave up funding to protect the academic freedom of our faculty.
Our Board of Trustees is a group of hardworking, passionate individuals who believe in doing what is in the best interest of Georgetown College, while taking into consideration the many constituents they serve. Sometimes students may not agree with their decisions, but wisdom comes with maturity, which is something that often takes years of experience to achieve, so it is safe to say that the Board has our best interest in mind, whether we like it or not.