Blue Grass Trust Takes Aim At UK's Campus Revitalization Efforts

Jan 30, 2014

UK President Eli Capilouto has run into some opposition regarding his plan to modernize the school’s campus.

Kirwan Blanding Tower Dorms on the UK Campus
Kirwan Blanding Tower Dorms on the UK Campus
Credit photo provided

The Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation has placed 11 university-owned buildings on its annual 11th hour endangered list.  Executive Director Sheila Ferrell says her group wants UK to put more thought into preserving properties it considers architecturally significant.

"Basically we are hoping to start a dialog with the university, their trustees, students, and staff to come up with positive ways to preserve their built heritage," Ferrell said.

UK spokesman Jay Blanton says the school carefully considers whether a building can be re-purposed or not.

"The decision of whether to preserve a building or demolish is a balance of what are often competing values.  We have an institution where as we grow, we're going to have to grow on the same footprint.  We're not going to be able to move our boundaries.  So we've got to look at where we can grow on our existing campus."

Blanton says some structures have been successfully updated in recent years including the Administration Building, Memorial Coliseum, and Lafferty Hall.  He adds that UK is committed to maintaining a dialog with the Blue Grass Trust on a variety of issues.

The full list of properties include:  The Ligon House, the Matthews House and the Hamilton House on South Limestone, the old student dorms; Kirwan-Blanding Towers, Holmes, Donovan and Jewel Hall, the Quadrangle of Kinkead, Bowman, Breckenridge and Bradley Halls, Patterson Hall, the Wenner-Gren Laboratory,  and the Carnahan House off Newtown Pike.

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