U’s largest living learning community complete

A little more “college town magic” came to the University of Utah’s campus this semester with the opening of the final wing of the university’s largest living-learning community.

Though the last installment of Kahlert Village is still awaiting some final touches, over 400 students have moved into the newest on-campus housing community for the Fall 2023 Semester. The new tower brings the total number of beds in Kahlert Village up to 1,422.

“We know when students live on campus, they graduate faster. We know when students live on campus, they build deeper connections, not only to the university but also to their own friends,” said U President Taylor Randall at a dedication ceremony on Friday for the new tower.

The Katharine B. Garff Honors Tower joins three previously completed Kahlert Village wings— the Heather Kahlert Technology Tower, the Gail Miller Community Engagement Tower and the Patricia Child Health and Wellness Tower. Each of the towers features themed living-learning communities designed to help students find their purpose, their passion and their people—a vision that started with Kahlert’s desire to help more students engage with technology.

The women the towers are named after are Utah community leaders in their fields—health care, technology, liberal arts—and each contributed $5-$10 million to support the project’s completion. In total, the housing complex came in under budget at just under $155 million.

“Today, the four of us represent women who promote education. We joined together to encourage and facilitate young students to be curious, to excel, to collaborate, to network, to study and to grow,” Garff said during the dedication ceremony Sept. 15. “All three of these women are lovely mentors to me. Pat, Gail, Heather and I extend our hearts and our hands in the hopes that these dorms will make a difference in the lives of scholars pursuing education dreams.”

Like the other Kahlert Village towers, the new Garff Tower features a range of housing floor plans that include shared and private options. In addition to other common spaces, the first floor of this wing also has three sound-proof music practice rooms.

“Students can go into these rooms and unwind or reflect or practice or realize how intrinsically beautiful music is in their lives,” Garff said. “I don’t care what they are playing. Music enriches their lives.”

More housing projects are currently in planning stages or under construction at the university, including the Sorensen Impact Epicenter. In the next five years, approximately 12,000 beds are expected to come online.

“We’re building a city here,” Randall said. “The University of Utah campus is a place where you can come and live your dreams.”

Matilyn Mortensen
Communications Specialist, University of Utah Communications