UK College Of Law Expansion Could Affect Two Historic Houses

Aug 29, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - With funding challenges standing in the way of the University of Kentucky’s plans for a new College of Law on Scott Street, the university is considering renovating and expanding the existing College of Law, but that could signal the end for two historic houses on campus.

The Mathews House, built in 1908 by the school’s first dean of agriculture, and the Ligon House, a 1920s Arts and Crafts style building, sit side by side on South Limestone. The College of Law, located behind them, is due for an upgrade – that’s according to UK’s vice president of facilities, Bob Wiseman. He says a previous proposal to create an entirely new facility could cost up to $90 million dollars, while the new plan to add on to the old building would save the university about $30 million. But the move has upset some preservationists.

"Once it's gone it's gone, and certainly yes you can look at a picture and say 'Boy, that was neat,' and 'Yes, that's where he lived.' There's a great deal of difference between a photograph and the real thing," says John Rhorer, chair of the Urban County Government Historic Preservation Commission.  

Wiseman did not respond to an interview request by WUKY in time for broadcast, but he told the Lexington Herald-Leader continued cuts in state funding mean UK must find ways to expand using its own money.