UK HealthCare

Design Phase Approved for Construction of New UK College of Medicine

File Photo: Health professions students in November 2019. Pete Comparoni l UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2021) — The design phase for the construction of a new University of Kentucky College of Medicine building was approved Tuesday by the UK Board of Trustees.

As part of the college’s planned growth strategy, a new building will establish a world-class education facility that will become the hub of medical education in Kentucky and beyond, said UK College of Medicine Dean Robert DiPaola.

The project is planned to include approximately 380,000 square feet for classrooms, simulation suites, conference rooms as well as office and support space for the College of Medicine and other health care colleges.

Currently, UK medical campus students take classes primarily in the William R. Willard Medical Education Building built in 1962, as well as the Charles T. Wethington Building and the Clinical Skills Training and Assessment Center (CSTAC).

A location on UK’s campus for the new building will be determined and announced in late summer or early fall. Also, at the completion of the design phase, the project will come before the Board of Trustees for approval to move forward with the bidding and construction phases.

Overall enrollment for the 2020-21 UK College of Medicine academic year was 717 including:

  • 514 on the UK Lexington campus
  • 92 at the Bowling Green Campus that enrolled three classes in 2020-21 and will have its first graduating class in 2021-22
  • 69 at the Northern Kentucky Campus that will graduate its first class in 2022-23.
  • 42 students at the Rural Physician Leadership Program – Morehead where students attend in their third and fourth years of medical school.

“Physician demand is expected to exceed supply exponentially over the next 10 years,” DiPaola said. “And we know the most effective way to increase the number of physicians practicing statewide is to train them. In Kentucky, it is especially dire as the medical needs across the state are among the highest in the nation, particularly in rural areas.”

The demand for admission into the UK medical programs has also increased dramatically from 2,394 in 2019 to 3,792 in this past year for the 201 spots available. 

“Increasing the number of practicing physicians is one of the many ways in which the UK College of Medicine is responding to increased health care demands throughout the Commonwealth,” DiPaola said. “Training physicians and other health care professionals to practice statewide in Kentucky is of major importance and to do that effectively, the College of Medicine and other health care colleges at UK need the space available to grow the number of students to meet the needs of the Commonwealth.”

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.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.