The Next Phase of Our Campus Transformation

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Monday Blog, December 17, 2018

Over the past seven years, the University of Kentucky has invested or authorized nearly $2.3 billion to transform classrooms, research laboratories, residence halls, dining spaces, healthcare and athletics facilities.

When we think about this transformation, we think about what these facilities have empowered us to achieve. 

What impact have we seen? 

  • More students are graduating from UK and more patients treated than ever before in our history. 
  • More students, 55.6% more since 2011, are earning bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, math, and health—providing key workforce needs for the state.
  • More of the best and brightest are attracted to UK, as more than 650 National Merit, Achievement, and Hispanic Scholars since 2011 have joined the UK family, placing us among the top public institutions in the country.
  • More cutting-edge researchers are joining the UK family, attracted by facilities like the new research building focused on addressing Kentucky health disparities – from cancer to opioids.
  • $5.5 billion has been spent with Kentucky companies since 2011, reflecting the catalyst engine we are for Kentucky’s economy.

Those facts are just a few reasons why we always say: it’s not about the buildings. It’s about what happens inside.  It’s about providing the innovative space that allows our people to thrive.  And we’re not done. 

We continue to think about providing the best possible facilities for our growing academic programs and our priorities for the state we serve.  Last week, we presented our campus modernization and capital plans to the UK Board of Trustees.

Over the next five years, that plan depicted investments of another $500 million — fueled primarily by philanthropy and enrollment growth — largely focused on renovating, upgrading and expanding the campus: the places and spaces where instruction and learning happen. Success in our Kentucky Can campaign will be a key driver in turning those plans into reality. 

These plans, too, are about more than new or renovated buildings. They are about what these facilities would allow us to do. For example:

  • An additional 150,000-250,000 square feet of space will accommodate up to 3,500 more students over the next five years, accelerating our plans to graduate even more students and expand Kentucky’s workforce.
  • Completing Phase 2 of the Research Building 2 will support our goals to cut cancer incidence rates in half and attack the opioid drug epidemic ravaging too many communities across Kentucky.
  • Expansion of the College of Engineering will allow the college to continue its growth to nearly 6,000 students by 2025, preparing thousands more engineers.
  • Reimagining and recapturing the Reynolds Building for the College of Design, would allow the college to expand and create new majors to meet workforce needs.
  • Renovation efforts to UK’s Scovell Hall would make a reality of plans to relocate the College of Public Health, one of the fastest-growing colleges on campus.
  • A new College of Communication and Information building would anchor a digital village near the James F. Hardymon and Davis Marksbury buildings, supporting more communication and technology leaders across a rapidly changing technological landscape.

These modernization and capital project plans are guided by a compelling vision for our role as Kentucky’s university.

Under President Capilouto’s leadership, we’ve built momentum by focusing, not on the “what,” but on the “why.”   That momentum allows our people to thrive and to show the world what Kentucky can do. 


Eric N. Monday 





photo of campus