UK Rugby preparing for potential playoff season

BY RYAN HORD

The University of Kentucky men’s rugby club team is preparing for what iwildcat rfcs shaping up to be its best season in decades.

Two years ago, the coaching staff comprised of Tony Vince, Gary Anderson, and Vince Gross developed a five-year plan to turn the then-struggling team at the bottom of its division into one of the premiere programs in the country.

The team’s fitness training regimen has progressed as well. Previously, personal fitness and strength had been the responsibility of the players. Now, the team has made a deal with the local Man O’ War Crossfit gym where team conditioning and strength training take place. The team is also subject to much more rigorous conditioning during practice. The team runs multiple fitness tests a day until the majority or all of the players can complete them under a specified time.

The team has improved immensely on its recruiting abilities, largely due to the efforts of Coach Gary Anderson who has traveled to many state tournaments in Ohio and Indiana while also meeting with high school players in the Lexington and Louisville areas. Anderson is preparing to travel to Hudson, Ohio where the state finals are being held over the weekend. The team has 7 high school recruits committed to play for UK next season.

At one point last season, the team broke into the Top 20 and was ranked 16th in the nation.

The program’s growth would not have happened so quickly if not for many generous donations given by alumni. Every year, the team holds an event at which the current UK team plays against a collection of alumni players both freshly graduated and those who haven’t competed in decades.

Players have also taken part in many construction projects to help raise the money needed to pay for things such as new jerseys, hotel accommodations and large buses for the longer road trips.

The team is working with the goal in mind of making the play offs this year, a selective group as only two teams from each division make the cut.

“I think it would be a disappointment for us not to make the playoffs this year,” says senior player CJ Leadingham. “Over the past three years I’ve been here we’ve progressed and fine-tuned our game, become a more successful team, a team with better chemistry and at this point there’s no reason why we shouldn’t beat everyone in the SEC.”

Team president Curt Hart said while he found rugby to be a more productive way to spend his time over other extra-curricular activities he found the social aspects to be most beneficial.

“Using it just like any other social club, for the networking, the things it benefits you for. If you want to succeed and want to network well you’ve got to be involved socially. Rugby was a decent way.”

The team’s fall competitive season begins on September 4th at home against the Notre Dame College Varsity program.

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UK Student Center Renovation: Step By Step and Who Is Moving Where

BY RACHEL MINOGUE

LEXINGTON, Ky. After months of meetings and planning the renovation for the University of Kentucky Student Center, the date is set for construction and expansion to begin.

Set to be done in January 2018, the Student Center is undergoing a complete renovation, which will feature a new street view as well as a recreation center, new food options and a 35,000-square-foot bookstore, according to the Student Center renovations website.

The current Student Center was built in three phases, according to Dave Adams, a Jostin Construction project manager, with the first being in 1938, followed by additions in 1963 and 1982.

“They’re keeping the 1938 part because there are some historical aspects they are trying to preserve,” said Adams, “but the rest will be all brand new state of the art buildings.”

The current renovations began in 2014 with the planning phase and transitioned into the schematic design phase, which consisted of establishing concept diagrams, floor plans and elevations that were adjusted in the planning phase, according to the timeline on the Student Center renovations website.

The timeline shows that the transition into the design development phase happened in October 2014 and consisted of adding more detail to the schematic design documents, including architectural development and coordination with materials, equipment and furniture.

In February 2015, the construction documents phase began which was when highly detailed drawings and specifications were created that are necessary for the construction to begin.

The current phase of tearing down the old buildings is going to last for seven months, according to Michael Turley, a Jostin Construction worker who was on site for the first time Wednesday. The demolition phase, which will leave the Great Hall area and the Frank Harris Ballroom section of the Student Center intact, followed by the building of the new Student Center, which will last at least another two years.

The Student Center has been home to the WRFL-FM student-run radio station, the UK bookstore, several dining options and the Late Night Film Series, which are all in the process of relocating for the duration of the renovations.

Bowman’s Den, located behind the Singletary Center, opened June 4, will be a temporary retail zone and will house Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Subway, Panda Express and Greens to Go, as well as financial offices.

The UK bookstore has moved behind Memorial Coliseum in a temporary building, WRFL has relocated to White Hall Classroom building and the location for the Late Night Film Series is still being determined, but plans to continue.

After 30 years without renovating, the time has come to modernize the Student Center to welcome and fulfill the needs of past, present and future students of the University of Kentucky.

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Parking Services plans 200 new spots — in K-Lot area

BY CASSIDY BLAIR

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Students at the University of Kentucky can breathe a small sigh of relief and then take in a huge breath in when it comes to parking at the University.

Parking at the University of Kentucky has been troublesome and worrying to many students who are attending and quite a few students have acquired at least one parking citation from the University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services.

With the new housing being constructed on campus, more students will be living on campus therefore more cars will need a space to park in. The already limited proximate parking will be even more in demand.

“We do not have plans to add any additional proximate residential parking for the upcoming year,” said Chrissie Balding Tune, marketing and promotions specialist senior for the University of Kentucky PTS.

“However, we will be increasing parking in other student areas around campus, primarily in the Commonwealth Stadium lots,” said Tune. The Commonwealth Stadium lots, or K lots, are about a 30-minute walk from the North Campus residential buildings. So, although approximately 200 spaces will be added, they will not be in an efficient area for many on-campus students.

Without a parking permit purchased from PTS there are not many spaces to park on campus without paying. This is especially difficult for those wanting to use the Johnson Center, the state-of-the-art student workout facility on South Campus. “Students and employees who do not have parking permits may use the nearby Sports Center Garage, Parking Structure Seven, and pay to park as a visitor while using the Johnson Center,” said Tune.

The parking structure costs $2 an hour, according to the PTS website, which could add up quickly if you are a frequent off campus user of the Johnson Center.

Additionally the campus buses serve the Johnson Center area.

Fortunately there may be a change in the PTS future. Currently the University of Kentucky is developing a Transportation Master Plan. “TMP is an initiative that aims to improve access and mobility to, from, and around campus for all members of the UK community,” said Tune.

TMP is ongoing and will continue throughout the summer months, according to the UKNow website. A draft plan and financial plan is to be submitted during the summer and the plan is to be finalized within the fall semester.

Additionally, the cost of parking will rise $1 a month for permitholders of the 2015-2016 school year.

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Student Center Renovation Kicks Off, “Bowman’s Den” To Open

BY ELIZABETH GRAVES

Lexington, Ky.  As the new student center begins construction,  students and staff prepare and are excited for what is to come. But that vision won’t be fully realized until 2018.

student

John Herbst, Executive Director of the Student Center said. “I think we are entering one of the most exciting times in UK history.”

The renovations on the student center are slowly starting to begin. Preparation for the renovation has been going on for months, and since spring classes are now out of session the real work can begin.

Dr. Clark Graves, adjunct professor and staff member said, “Upgrading the student center was necessary and it wasn’t meeting the needs for the growing campus population.”

The student center is a well-known spot on campus for students, staff, faculty and visitors to enjoy and now it’s about to get a whole lot better.

Freshman student Catie Taylor said, “The student center just had a lot of stuff from food to bookstore and different things. It was kind of the center of student life, especially for people in between classes and North Campus people.”

The new student center has been a long time coming and it will be welcomed with open arms when it is finally done. Amanda Stark, junior and a barista at Starbucks in the student center said, “I’m really glad we are getting a new student center! The old one was getting pretty bad! We really needed more space and the new student center is going to be amazing!”

“Being without a student center will be challenging, however the end result will be totally worth it,” said Herbst.

With the construction of the current student center beginning they have moved everything that was inside to other locations across campus. These moves include a new temporary student center called “Bowman’s Den,” named after the Wildcat statue, Bowman, that stands nearby.

Stark said, “The new makeshift one they built may be a little small but they put all brand new machines and everything in it! It looks so nice and it looks brand new!”

There is though some speculation about the temporary location for food services. Graves said, “During the construction it is going to put a strain on staff and students to accommodate the needs. The present student center had difficulty with having enough food services so will the temporary be able to accommodate the needs with the addition of the new on campus housing is a question that needs to be asked.”

Taylor was not a fan of the bookstore relocating behind Memorial Coliseum. She said, “The whole bookstore thing being on those old basketball courts seems strange and kind of inconvenient.”

Along with the remodeling of the student center, the university is adding more dorms so therefore more food options on other parts of campus, like The 90, a food complex currently under construction on south campus at the “90-degree angle” of Woodland Ave. near William T. Young Library.

Taylor said, “I’m all about the remodeling/new things plus The 90 will be open so I think that will kind of take the spot of it for next year.”

The main Student Center renovations will begin at the beginning of June and will run until January of 2018, which is when it is expected to be complete.

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University of Kentucky media students head to Ireland for course

Ten students will study World Media Systems in Dublin, Ireland for a month with University of Kentucky Associate Prof. Kakie Urch.

The course, coordinated with UK Education Abroad, will be based at Griffith College
Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 9.57.56 AM in central Dublin. Students will learn about how Irish history, culture, politics, economy and business affect media from the Book of Kells to Facebook.

Trips from the city to County Wicklow and Belfast and the Irish coast are planned, as well as visits to media entities.

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Things To Do Before Graduation

graduation

Many of graduates will be leaving this place that they’ve called home for a few years. With graduation only three days away, you still have time to do some of the things that have made Lexington special to you. So here is a list of some things you should do before leaving this place that has become your home.

1) Get a picture with the wildcat. Climb up on top of it with your friends and get one final picture that shows your UK pride. This will be a good memory to have of the place you love. This could also be a good picture to send out with graduation party invites.

2) Go and get one last late-night burger at Tolly Ho. This place has been a UK tradition for a long time now . So go pig out on greasy food with your friends – and if you have a friend who has never been, now’s your chance to embarrass them by telling the workers it is their first time.

3) Go for a drive and see your old dorm/apartment/house. You spent countless hours at these places and they helped shape you into who you are today.

4) While you’re on your drive visit some of your favorite places. Maybe drive to Commonwealth Stadium and the bowl to reminisce on football games and tailgates. Drive by your favorite hangouts, Keeneland, or your sorority/fraternity house. Visit Rupp Arena one last time before it’s filled with graduates. You’re going to miss these places once you’re gone.

5) Have one last lunch or dinner with all of your friends. This is the last time you’re all going to be in the same place at once.

6) Get one last UK item at Kennedy’s Bookstore. You can never have too many UK things.

7) And finally, thank everyone who has helped you get to where you are today. Your professors, family, and friends are all so proud of you. Graduating can be scary because now we’re in the real world – but this place has prepared you for this and now you can follow your dreams.

 On Saturday, Rupp Arena is going to be filled with graduates dressed in UK blue caps and gowns. Look around and take it all in. I know we all get tired of school and say we can’t wait to graduate, but it comes quicker than you know. UK gets in your blood and stays there forever. I know I will always bleed UK blue.

Congratulations 2015 graduates, you did it!

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Comer Releases Higher Education Plan

Just a few eggs hatched in Kentucky that have shaped the outcome of society: Louis Brandies, Thomas Hunt Morgan, John Marshall Harlan, Henry Clay, Ephraim McDowell, Nathan Stubblefield, and of course the Lincolns. The list can go on and on, but one concern Republican candidate for Governor, James Comer has is that not all of them stayed in Kentucky.

That concern is the fabric of the new Comer McDaniel Plan for Higher Education released this morning with an announcement on Twitter.

While appetizers and sides about localizing k-12 educational control, and revising the funding structure for universities from one based on admittance to one based on graduation are sprinkled throughout the plan, the main course focuses on the rising cost of college tuition and the concern that many of Kentucky’s most successful students graduate and leave the state. Comer proposes a tax credit for graduates of Kentucky four-year universities who remain in the state to help recoup the cost of tuition, which can run as high as $40,000 at “flagship” schools, UK and UofL, and $30,000 for regional universities like Morehead, EKU or Western.

Under Comer’s plan students must graduate in four years, an accomplishment attained by only 27 percent of flagship and 22 percent of regional students, and remain in the state working. Those who do will receive annual tax credits reimbursing them for about half of their tuition costs, $20,000 and $15,ooo respectively. Comer argues this will provide an incentive for students to remain in the state after graduation, which will attract higher paying jobs and companies which require a more educated workforce.

Data backs up Comers concerns. Last year, just before the start of fall semester, the Kentucky Center for Education & Workforce Statistics released a 2014 PostSecondary Feedback Report, which looked at graduates from state schools. It found that 80-90 percent, depending on the degree and school, of state school graduates remained in Kentucky one year after graduation; however, 10 years later, the proportion falls to 49-63 percent, again, depending on the degree and school.

But the Comer plan faces some struggles. While the median income in Kentucky is just over $42,000 per year, the PostSecondary Feedback showed that students took an average of 10 years in the labor force to reach that median income for all degrees not medicine or STEM fields, which could be the major force driving graduates out of the state.

The plan will be enticing for many Kentucky graduates, 62 percent of whom have student loan debt, the 19th-highest count in the nation. The average load on a young graduate’s wallet is $24,584. Receiving up to $20,000 back in tax credits could wipe out student loan debt for a large part of graduates.

But Comer is faced with the chicken and the egg scenario. If elected, and this plan is put into action, the question is which comes first, the education or the jobs? Is it a more educated workforce that will attract better paying jobs, or is it better paying jobs that will convince graduates to stay in Kentucky?

Comer has not said how many years students will receive tax credits before they reach full reimbursement, which leads to an important question. Will graduates be satisfied receiving tax credits from the state if they are have to wait 10 years to even make median income, or will they jump ship, and leave the tax breaks on the table for higher paying jobs elsewhere? The answer may just be in how many chickens a hypothetical Governor Comer could hatch.

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