This week marked an important moment in the life of the University of Kentucky.
With the strong support of Gov. Beshear and legislative leaders, we unveiled a proposal to self-finance three vital facilities that will enhance our ability to serve students and embolden the efforts of our faculty and staff in their efforts to teach, conduct groundbreaking research and serve.
We still must receive the approval for these projects by the General Assembly, which convened this week and will continue its work through March. But the backing of our governor and legislative leaders is critical. It underscores strong support for the direction we are taking as we prepare students to compete in a global economy and as our faculty and staff grapple with the challenges confronting our Commonwealth and world. The facilities we are seeking authority to build:
- A $65 million renovation and expansion of the Gatton College of Business and Economics. Using private dollars from committed donors, we will upgrade classrooms in the third-most-used classroom building on campus; educate more students; and better serve our community with a new, high-tech conference center, auditorium and MBA center.
- A new $100 million, 263,000-square-foot Academic and Science Building, funded in large measure by the growing revenues associated with our successful athletics program and private fund-raising. Our current chemistry/physics building is the second-most-used classroom space on campus and it has outdated space for both learning and research. A technology-infused building will provide both our students and exemplary faculty the space necessary to grapple with complex challenges and their solutions. I am deeply appreciative of the continued leadership of Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and the entire athletics department. Their commitment to the university and all of our students is making this critically important academic and research space possible.
- A $110 million renovation of Nutter Training Facility and Commonwealth Stadium, constructed in 1973. We will build luxury suites, club seating and a multi-purpose recruiting room, using revenues generated by the new suites for which there is a waiting list already. Football is the primary financial driver for 22 sports at UK and is one of the most important reasons we have one of the few financially self-sufficient programs in the country, one that gives millions each year to the institution's academic needs.
These facilities represent a $275 million investment that we are financing ourselves, while also committing to holding down tuition increases to no more than 3 percent next year as we strive to make education more affordable to more Kentuckians. You can read more about these facilities at BBNunited.com and learn about how you can get involved in supporting our leaders.
Thank you for your enduring commitment to UK. As always, "see blue."
The University of Kentucky is a Big Blue Nation united; learn more about #BBNunited at www.BBNunited.com. For updates on these projects, connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BBNunited and on Twitter, @BBNunited.