HRL: PFT to be all female next fall

Zirconia Alleyne

On Monday, members of the WKU Housing Residence Life leadership team discussed changing Pearce Ford Tower to an all-female residence hall. But Housing and Residence Life Director Brian Kuster didn’t expect the news to spread like wildfire.

“This all kind of came out quicker than what I would have liked,” he said. “But at the same time, I want to be open and honest with everyone. We are looking at making that change, but we’re still doing our research.”

PFT is currently a co-ed residence hall, but effective fall 2013, it will house only females.

Kuster said the decision came in an effort to change the “stigma” of PFT.

“We do think it will make a change in the view of PFT,” he said. “Any time something happens near the south end of campus, PFT gets the negative connotation.”

The hall received a $15 million renovation in 2009, which Kuster said was an effort to change the perception people had on the building.

“It had an effect, but not exactly what we wanted it to do,” he said.

Howard Bailey, vice president for Student Affairs, was also on board for the change.

“They thought I would brew over it since I was one of the first hall directors (there),” Bailey said. “But it didn’t take me long to make a decision.”

Bailey said he simply couldn’t find any negatives about the change, especially since there was “quite a bit” of money invested in PFT.

“It’s no surprise in education, in Student Affairs and housing, you know, that females usually have produced less physical wear and tear on a building,” Bailey said. “We would be maximizing the investment.”

For males, this will mean a move from PFT — possibly to Poland Hall.

“I’m not sure if Poland will be all-male,” Kuster said. “We may look at other residence halls. We’re looking at it (Poland), but we’re still doing our research.”

Kuster said they want to get feedback from students also and that males living in PFT would get first priority over incoming students to choose their new home.

By realigning PFT, 12-month housing and international students would also be moved. Kuster said a specific building has not been determined at this time.

“We will have a set building, possibly multiple buildings, that will be open during the breaks,” he said.

PFT would also no longer have 24-hour visitation on weekdays. Visitation hours would be from 10 a.m. to midnight on weekdays. Weekend visitation would start from 10 a.m. Friday and end at midnight on Sunday, Kuster said.

The 27-story building houses nearly 860 residents on 23 floors, which would require having 23 female residence assistants. Kuster assured that this wouldn’t mean fewer RA positions for males.

“Nobody is going to lose their job,” Kuster said. “We have enough openings for males to just be moved around. It doesn’t mean a male won’t be a night clerk or desk clerk.”