Simmons College of Kentucky turns public housing units into on-c - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Simmons College of Kentucky turns public housing units into on-campus dorms

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some former public housing units will be home to students at Simmons College of Kentucky.

When school starts later this month, Simmons will have more than 60 students living in campus housing. The new dorms are former public housing units that have been renovated.

For the first time since the Great Depression, the school will provide on-campus living for students. That space will also be occupied by 40 members of the Simmons Marching Band.

The new dormitories are named after prominent Louisvillians who have contributed to the school's resurgence.

"We'll even provide food. Three meals a day," said Langston Gaither, Executive Director of the St. Stephen Family Life Center.

The dorms are located on West Kentucky Street across from the St. Stephen.

"We are trying to keep the meal plans to a minimum so that ... when students are here, they're not having to worry about a lot of money," Gaither said.

The school was founded by former slaves in 1879.

"Simmons gave birth to the black teachers, the black professionals," said Dr. Kevin Cosby, President of Simmons College of Kentucky.

Cosby is the school's 13th president and said before falling on hard times, Simmons not only had on-campus housing but also produced a number of black lawyers and doctors.

"Simmons, in fact, was the only black college in America -- black-controlled -- that had a medical school and law school," he said. 

The walls of the school are lined with the faces of the men and women who started the tradition.

"When I see that, it just gives me the drive to want to learn more and do more," Cox II said.

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