UK - Campus Master Plan: Update 2012

Current update Process


Campus Master Planning develops long-range strategies for the growth and transformation of a campus. Common to all our recent plans is a belief that no single issue can be considered in isolation. Physical Planning interrelates buildings, infrastructure, open spaces, transit, site ecology, and storm-water management. The process is driven by consensus-building, collaboration and a respect for local culture, climate, and place. Physical planning also complements the University's Strategic Plan and Capital Plan. The University of Kentucky 2002 Physical Development Plan has served as a roadmap, allowing the campus to grow more useful and beautiful over the past ten years. Now it is time to update that plan to reflect the development that has occurred and to respond to new initiatives like the emphasis of the undergraduate experience.



A master plan will be useful for UK for several reasons:

  • It interprets and reinforces UK's identity
  • It provides a physical plan to reinforce the university's mission and gives physical reality to educational and community goals
  • It identifies space needs and explores what the possibilities and limits are for growth at UK's campus
  • It integrates the design and construction of new student housing with the overall campus and specific systems such as dining, transportation, stormwater, and open space
  • It suggests a sequence that will define and invigorate the campus and helps to ensure that new buildings contribute to the quality and character of the campus
  • It helps to define UK's relationship with its neighbors
  • It provides a tool to assist with fundraising efforts, voter support for bond issues, and opportunities for public and private partnerships



A master plan is, by definition, general in nature. UK's master plan will not address issues such as building or landscape conditions and maintenance, faculty and staff space assignment, parking permits and fees, or general operational issues.

UK is embarking on a comprehensive master planning effort that will address the university's new challenges, strategic objectives, and physical campus conditions. This memo provides a short introduction to Sasaki and a statement about the nature and purpose of the master plan.



In 2002, UK commissioned Ayers Saint Gross to create its most recent master plan. The plan focused on creating academic communities, connecting to downtown Lexington, and growing sustainably. The frameworks of this plan have guided recent development such as the new medical center campus, dormitories, and the Newtown Pike campus entrance. More information is provided in the History section of the Campus Master Planning website.



Sasaki is a Watertown, MA planning firm that specializes in campus master planning and has extensive experience in the higher education sector, both nationally and internationally. This broad range of experience provides the firm with an understanding of the issues faced by institutions today, as well as firsthand knowledge of successful solutions that have been implemented throughout the country and abroad. Their focus on master planning has led them to develop a high degree of expertise in areas that support comprehensive planning outcomes including architecture, space programming, landscape architecture, mobility planning, civil engineering, neighborhood relations and financial strategies. They believe that their multi-disciplinary teams more efficiently and effectively produce integrated and creative solutions. Their teams understand the nature of planning and work together with the client to develop affordable, achievable planning outcomes. Sasaki is associated with a Lexington firm, Ross Tarrant Architects, an architectural firm specializing in the education sector. RTA's knowledge of and work experience with the University of Kentucky complements Sasaki's national expertise in campus planning.

In addition to the above team Sasaki may employ a strategic planner to assist with development of a housing strategy, commercial corridor strategy and a neighborhood real estate strategy as well as a consultant to provide an in-depth quantitative analysis of classroom space utilization.

An executive Committee of university administrators will be responsible for the strategic direction of the master plan. An advisory committee will be responsible for engaging and representing campus and city stakeholders.



Topics to be addressed include increasing residential capacity, accommodating enrolment growth, strengthening town-gown relationships, and enhancing the student experience.



The master plan will be developed over approximately six months. The master planning process involves five phases.

Phase A:     Housing Framework Priority and Campus Assessment
First, Sasaki will work with UK, EdR, and Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects to complete an accelerated residential framework plan that will inform urgently needed residential development. In tandem, Sasaki will begin to gather information necessary for the overall master plan. This includes interviewing and surveying internal and community stakeholders and analyzing current data to assess the condition of campus life, learning environments, etc.

Phase B:     Collaboration
Informed by information gathered during the assessment phase, Sasaki will work with UK officials to draft campus framework alternatives that will consider civic structure, landscape, mobility, improvements to the learning environment, and community connections.

Phase C:     Recommendations
In this phase, the best framework concepts will be synthesized into a master plan, to be reviewed by the executive committee.

Phase D:     Document Production
Sasaki will create final master plan documentation and present materials.




The success of the master plan requires that it respond to the needs, values and aspirations of all members of the university community. Consultation with the university's faculty, staff, and students; residential and retail neighbors; and government partners is an essential element of the master planning process. The process has been structured to encourage and facilitate input by incorporating online survey tools, individual interviews, public forums, and work sessions with the Master Planning Committee and Board of Trustees.


As we move forward with implementation of the master plan, utility and construction projects on campus are ongoing. Information is available on the impacts of these projects at the following websites:

Utility Work and Road Closures
Get on the Construction Notification List
Information about ongoing projects

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Meeting Minutes:



Newsletter Archive:

October 12, 2012

November 1, 2012

December 21, 2012

February 19, 2013

May 7, 2013

September 13, 2013

April, 2014