University of Kentucky trustees have approved the demolition of three buildings recently placed on a Blue Grass Trust endangered buildings list.
The demolition will make room for a pair of new residence halls.
Despite a move by the Trust to preserve Jewell and Holmes Halls and Hamilton House, all the trustees, apart from two abstainers, voted in favor of tearing down the structures Friday. The Trust had noted that the two residence halls were designed by the renowned modernist architect Ernst Johnson. That defense did little to persuade trustee David Hawpe.
"The fact that a well known architect's name is attached to a building doesn't, by itself, excuse that building from the balancing that often has to be done between preservation and reuse on the one hand and rethinking and redevelopment on the other hand," Hawpe told the board.
Two more buildings, Wenner-Gren Research Laboratory and Donovan Hall, are also scheduled to be razed to clear the way for a new science building.
UK president Eli Capilouto says moving forward with the university’s ambitious building plan involves weighing priorities, adding, "I think we engage people in community, we have fierce debates on our campus, and we make the best choices we can."
Two large residence halls, housing a total of 1,100 students, will take the old buildings' spot on the corner of South Limestone and Avenue of Champions. The construction will add 5,733 new beds to campus with completion expected in fall 2016.