A rendering of the new Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky. The construction will add to and renovate the existing Gatton building along South Limestone.
Lexington, KY - The University of Kentucky unveiled the architectural plans today for a $65 million expansion and renovation of its existing Gatton College of Business and Economics building.
The new design, which is being funded entirely through private philanthropy, will expand the footprint of the facility by 40 percent to 210,000 square feet, enabling growth in Gatton’s enrollment from 2,800 to 4,000 students.
The improved facility will include a 500-seat auditorium with theater-style seating to accommodate large classes, lectures and special events. The new building design also features a finance learning center equipped to simulate a real trading environment, with digital displays feeding real-time financial and market information. A behavioral research lab will offer students and faculty a controlled environment that can be configured to their research needs, featuring a computer room with individual workstations, a retail area and a behavioral viewing station. The building will also house more than 40 breakout rooms to facilitate student collaboration and 20 new classrooms of varying sizes.
David W. Blackwell, dean of the Gatton College, said the new facility will enhance the college’s ability to compete for world-class students and faculty, to enable new learning and research methods, and to reach out and contribute to the lifelong learning efforts of business leaders across the commonwealth.
The groundbreaking of the Gatton expansion.
The university has currently obtained more than $45 million in pledges and payments for the project, which will use no state tax dollars, said UK president Eli Capilouto. More than half of that amount, or $23 million, was contributed in lead donations from C.M. “Bill” Gatton, Don and Cathy Jacobs, Howard Lewis and Bill Seale.
Shortly before the official groundbreaking on the project, Capilouto called the project “a concrete example of the power of partnership” in Kentucky, referring to the support of not only private donors but also the governor and the state legislature, which moved forward the plans for an improved facility as part of UK’s overall capital improvement plan under House Bill 7. The bill was approved by the Kentucky General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Beshear earlier this year.
“This project will enable the Gatton College to grow not just in size, but more importantly in quality,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “Kentucky’s ability to compete in the 21st century will depend upon our continuing success in improving the quality of our workforce, and our university campuses are an integral part of that mission.”