Campus News

UK breaks ground on Martin-Gatton Agricultural Sciences Building

Martin-Gatton Agricultural Sciences Building rendering
Martin-Gatton Agricultural Sciences Building rendering 2

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 21, 2024) — The University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, alongside The Bill Gatton Foundation, celebrated the groundbreaking of the $60 million Martin-Gatton Agricultural Sciences Building. The project is the first new teaching facility in nearly 35 years for the college and is financed with the university’s modernization fund pool, which prioritizes restoring and renewing the historic footprint of campus.

Generous support from The Bill Gatton Foundation will also facilitate numerous enhancements to the building that will provide students with an exceptional educational experience and support a new Companion Animal Program.

Named in honor of the late UK alum and former trustee Carol Martin “Bill” Gatton’s parents, Edith Martin and Harry W. Gatton Sr., this building will be situated along Cooper Drive adjacent to the Charles E. Barnhart Building and completed by March 2026. The new building will serve faculty, staff and students across several academic departments and provide a new home for the investments made in the college’s initiatives and people by The Bill Gatton Foundation. Last year, the foundation made a historic, $100 million investment in the college’s faculty, students and programs that will come alive in this state-of-the-art facility.

“This groundbreaking marks a transformative step in empowering students to become agents of positive change for the Commonwealth,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “This is a moment to celebrate how The Bill Gatton Foundation is supporting our people and programs working to advance Kentucky.”

Spanning 66,000 square feet, the building is slated to become the college’s primary teaching facility and student center. It will feature spacious, open classrooms on the ground floor, complemented by a café where students can relax, build relationships and collaborate.

This space will also house the planned Companion Animal Program, a priority for Mr. Gatton, who valued the power of the human-animal bond. Numerous studies have shown how animals can have a positive impact on human mental and physical well-being. Many UK subject matter experts are eager to address this need across a range of disciplines, and creative programs are in development through support of The Bill Gatton Foundation gift.

"This new building will showcase the investments planned for the next 20 years by The Bill Gatton Foundation," said Nancy Cox, vice president for Land-grant Engagement and dean of the college. “This building stands as a testament to Mr. Gatton’s mission to shape a brighter future for Kentucky.”

Additionally, the building’s unique design will integrate outdoor spaces connected to the renovated Cooper House and the newly established James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits, creating an immersive learning environment.

“Large and flexible classroom spaces will accommodate the college's expanding enrollment. Collaborative areas and purposeful outdoor spaces will help us cultivate the next generation of agricultural leaders,” said Carmen Agouridis, senior associate dean for the college.

In addition to 15 state-of-the-art classrooms, the building will house various academic programs, including UK Ag Equine Programs, Natural Resources and Environmental Science, Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology and Pre-Veterinary Advising.

Visit Gatton’s Legacy Like No Other tribute page at

The Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is an Equal Opportunity Organization with respect to education and employment and authorization to provide research, education information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, physical or mental disability or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

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