No matter the sultry weather outside, all University of Kentucky students living on campus will finally get a cool respite when they get home.
UK has installed air-conditioning units in Holmes Hall and Jewell Hall, the last two dorms without air conditioning at any of Kentucky's public universities.
"It is a very big thing for us to get done," said Ben Crutcher, UK's associate vice president for auxiliary services.
He said the upgrade cost $366,000 for 163 units in Holmes Hall and $130,000 for 54 units in Jewell Hall.
Without air conditioners, the two dorms had been a hard sell for students.
"It wasn't too bad last year," said Nellie He of Jamestown, a resident assistant in Holmes Hall. "I had my fan. But this year it's a lot better."
When students move in, "people don't have to stop to take a breath," she said.
Still, a lack of air conditioning had its upsides. Having sweltry rooms "helped build the community," said Kamla Jones, a Holmes desk clerk, because students would come downstairs to air-conditioned common areas to study together.
Besides, she said, "We live in Kentucky. The weather changes very rapidly."
In addition to installing the Kenmore window units, technicians upgraded circuits in the buildings to accommodate the increased electrical load and added additional outlets in the rooms, Crutcher said.
"In both Jewell and Holmes, we had a problem where both of those buildings were built in the '50s and students were always tripping circuits, so we spent some money to upgrade the circuit," Crutcher said.
Most other Kentucky universities retrofitted their remaining dorms that didn't have air conditioning more than a decade ago.
For example, the last four dorms at Eastern Kentucky University gained the amenity in 1992. Morehead State University gave its last residence hall air conditioning in 1994. And all of the dorms still operating at the University of Louisville and Northern Kentucky University were equipped with air conditioning when they were built.
Reach Cheryl Truman at (859)231-3202 or 1-800-950-6397, ext. 3202 or on Twitter at @CherylTruman.