LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 7, 2015) — "The new Gatton building is among the very best business school facilities in the world."
That quote is from David W. Blackwell, dean of the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, talking about the $65 million privately financed expansion and renovation of the college's home, located at the intersection of Administration Drive and South Limestone on the UK campus in Lexington.
Blackwell continued, "The additional space and modern technology not only allows us to serve more students, but also alters the fundamental interactions among our students, faculty and staff to dramatically improve our research productivity and student outcomes."
Video footage courtesy of UK Gatton College of Business and Economics. A downloadable version of this video is available here.
Ground was broken on the project in October 2013. The challenging tasks of designing, planning and construction are about to bear their first fruit. Faculty and staff members are expected to start moving into the newly-renovated Commerce Wing, first built in the early 1960s, today. The new addition will be finished by Aug. 18, and faculty will begin to explore the classrooms and familiarize themselves with the new technology. Fall semester classes get underway Aug. 26.
"Everyone is very excited to move into the renovated and new space," said Ken Troske, senior associate dean of the Gatton College and Sturgill Endowed Professor of Economics. Troske, the college's lead liaison on the building project added, "We are looking forward to teaching in the new classrooms, occupying the new offices, meeting in the new conference rooms, and utilizing the cutting-edge technology that has been installed throughout the building."
Interior demolition work on the existing Classroom Wing, erected in 1991, will begin shortly and the renovation of this space should be completed by April 2016.
No taxpayer dollars are being used to pay for this beautiful new home for the Gatton College.
"The entire $65 million being spent on construction of the new facility will be funded through gifts from our generous alumni and friends," Blackwell said. "We currently have commitments for $58 million, so we have a way to go. It is tremendously gratifying to receive this kind of financial support. It is really amazing to realize what an impact the college has had on people's lives, and how much they care about enabling a brighter future for the Gatton College."
At the start of the project, the Gatton College was serving a total of 2,800. The plan calls for the college to serve nearly 4,000 students by the time the construction work is finished.
Among the highlights which will be part of the new facility when it is completed this spring:
· The footprint of the college will expand by 40 percent to 210,000 square feet.
· The 500-seat Kincaid Auditorium designed for special events and large lectures.
· The new Seale Finance Learning Center which includes an advanced classroom with a simulated trading environment featuring digital displays feeding real-time financial and market information.
· Twenty new classrooms, including 10 45-seat classrooms; six 85-seat classrooms; three 70-seat classrooms; and one 65-seat classroom.
· Forty-two collaborative study or breakout rooms.
· The Woodward Special Events Hall with audio-visual components to accommodate dinners and lectures seating anywhere from 75-200 people.
· The Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center which will serve as the center for the college’s outreach to the business community.
· An outdoor garden plaza which will serve as a gathering place for students, faculty and staff on nice weather days.
Faculty reaction for the new building is enthusiastic.
"Working in a building like this should inspire you every time you walk through the door," said Dan Brass, chair of the Department of Management and J. Henning Hilliard Endowed Chair in Management.
The new main entrance to the Gatton College building will serve as a "front door" to the central part of UK's campus.
"The building's entryway will now face toward the Main Building and Patterson Office Tower instead of toward Limestone," Troske said.
"We hope that everyone on campus will come and spend some time in our new facility," added Blackwell.
For more about the new Gatton College building, visit http://gattonunited.uky.edu.