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UK's $500 million wish list fixes old buildings, constructs new ones

lexington herald-leader logo lexington herald-leader 12/11/2018 By Linda Blackford, Lexington Herald-Leader

Dec. 11--The University of Kentucky is considering a $500 million facilities plan to renovate older buildings and construct new ones to accommodate planned enrollment growth over the next five years.

The wish list would provide up to 250,000 square feet of space to accommodate 2,500 to 3,500 new students over the next five years, a surge that UK officials say is necessary to get more graduates into Kentucky's workforce. More students means more need for classrooms, offices, and research space.

"I see the University of Kentucky playing its role in leading Kentucky in a rapidly changing 21st century," said President Eli Capilouto. "We have big dreams at the University of Kentucky. That's our responsibility."

UK already has legislative approval to issue agency bonds for a $125 million plan to modernize six older campus buildings. That means UK will have to use internal funds and philanthropy to pay those bonds back.

The UK Board of Trustees was presented with the facilities plan Tuesday; individual approval of each project could begin as early as February.

The renovation projects include a $34 remake of Reynolds Warehouse, a former tobacco warehouse that formerly housed much of the College of Fine Arts until it moved to a newly renovated space on Bolivar Street; a $26 million Phase II renovation of the Chemistry Physics Building on Rose Street; and a $5 million renovation of the White Hall Classroom building, a 1960s-era building that serves numerous large lecture classes. The plan would also renovate Scovell Hall, at a cost of $42 million, into a new home for the College of Public Health, one of the fastest growing on campus, and provide $4 million to modernize Cooper Hall on south Limestone, one of UK's oldest buildings.

The College of Design, which is located in several different buildings, would consolidate in the Reynolds Warehouse, said Mary Vosevich, vice president of facilities management. The building "is a great facility for that type of program ... great studio spaces," Vosevich said.

Vosevich also presented a $222 million wish list for new buildings, some of which may get built through public-private partnerships, such as the expansion of the Limestone parking garage. Other prospects include $55 million structure called "Digital Village III," a new home for the College of Communications and Information that could be located between the Marksbury and Hardymon buildings on Rose Street. The list includes a new "teaching pavilion" for the College of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, a new police station on the corner of Rose and Euclid and an new office building at Coldstream Park.

The plan also includes several athletics projects, such as renovating Memorial Coliseum and building new tennis courts, as well as research projects and campus grounds projects, such as moving the utilities under the Kirwan Blanding towers in anticipation of tearing them down.

Some of these projects have been approved, but others do not yet have legislative approval.

In the past seven years, UK has spent nearly $2.3 billion on new residence halls, academic building and dining facilities. Both dining and residence halls have been completed through partnerships with private corporations.

Under the new plan, individual colleges will have to raise about 30 percent of the necessary funding; additional resources will come from enrollment growth and existing revenue sources.

Modernizing projects

Scovell Hall: $42 million

Reynolds Warehouse: $34 million

Phase 2 of Chemistry Physics Building: $26 million

Phase 1 of W. P. Garrigus Building: $10 million

Phase 1 of White Hall Classroom Building: $5 million

Cooper House: $4 million

Enabling Projects, such as HVAC changes: $4 million

Recommended Capital Projects

Poultry Research Facility: $6 million (approved)

Parking Structure #5 Expansion: $30 million (approved)

Coldstream Office Building: $24 million

Dentistry Addition: $8 million

Digital Village III: $55 million

Barnhart & Still Building: $32.5 million

Multi-Disciplinary Science Building -- 5th Floor: $8 million

Peterson Service Building: $14 million

Police Station: $13.5 million

Patterson Office Tower -- 18th Floor: $4 million

Teaching Pavilion: $27.5 million


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