West Kennedy Hall Receives Warm Grand Opening

Published: Sep 12, 2013
Marlene Rose, of Marlene Rose Glass, takes a photo of one of the 100 pieces of art, photography and cultural elements on display in West Kennedy Hall. Rose’s own art, a glass sculpture titled “Buddha Trio,” is located near the entrance to the building and reflects an Asian theme.
Marlene Rose, of Marlene Rose Glass, takes a photo of one of the 100 pieces of art, photography and cultural elements on display in West Kennedy Hall. Rose’s own art, a glass sculpture titled “Buddha Trio,” is located near the entrance to the building and reflects an Asian theme.

Photo gallery of the residence hall

Guests who attended the Sept. 12 grand opening of West Kennedy Hall reminisced about their first dorm rooms as they toured UT’s biggest and newest residence hall. Their memories likely won’t compare to those of the students living in this upscale accommodation.

“Wouldn’t you love to be living in this facility?” asked John West, chair of the Board of Trustees. West has traveled to more than 50 university campuses with his three children and noted that none are as striking as UT.

Located on Kennedy Boulevard near North Boulevard, West Kennedy Hall’s main entrance faces North Brevard Avenue to the east and to the west, a park will be build for student relaxation and recreation. The hall has sweeping views of campus and downtown Tampa on its 11th floor, where two large multipurpose rooms for organizational and group activities are housed for use by the campus community.

West Kennedy Hall was built with construction techniques that make the building a candidate for LEED certification. Some of these include the installation of low-flow water fixtures estimated to save 2.3 million gallons of water a year, highly efficient lighting throughout and the recycling of 78 percent of the construction waste or 1,200 tons.

“Every academic year there is an undeniable buzz at the start of the year and this year, the energy is particularly noticeable,” said UT President Ronald Vaughn.

Vaughn said the 528-student residence hall was designed to promote student community and interaction, with many nooks for residents to gather. There is an international focus as well, through artwork and design, meant to expand on the University’s academic efforts to internationalize students for a global workforce.

Dean of Students Stephanie Russell Krebs said the meaningful dialog and lifelong connections formed in West Kennedy Hall will stay with students long after graduation. Helping students develop as successful community members is a primary goal promoted by Student Affairs every day.

“The opening of West Kennedy Hall has raised the motivations for our students, and they certainly are feeling loved,” she said. “They know that UT faculty, staff and the administration are supporting their lives as students and student leaders on campus.”

Some of West Kennedy Hall’s features include:

  • Two large community multipurpose rooms on the top — 11th — floor specifically for organizational and group activities;
  • An international theme, intended to continue educating students about global cultures and traditions;
  • More than 100 pieces of world photography, plus art objects and unique cultural elements from more than 20 countries around the world, that are exhibited in the lobby and throughout the building;
  • Cable and network access in every room;
  • Two, two-story lofts, accessed from the 10th floor, that offer townhouse-like living and outstanding views for groups of eight students each;
  • A solar thermal array on the roof that utilizes the sun’s energy to heat water for the occupants’ use;
  • A centralized, well-equipped kitchen; and,
  • External lighting that changes with the seasons.

West Kennedy Hall is the seventh new residence hall built on the UT campus in the last 15 years.