UK HealthCare

Design Phase Approved for Construction of New UK College of Medicine

File Photo: UK College of Medicine 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.”

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.