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By Ralph Derickson


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"I want it (the reconstructed UK Administration Building) to be full of life, not just a holding place for administrators or a place to come when you're in trouble."

-- Lee T. Todd Jr.,
University of Kentucky

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June 11, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- The University of Kentucky Administration Building, which was nearly destroyed in a May 15, 2001, fire, would literally present a new face to the campus under a preliminary reconstruction plan shown to Board of Trustees members today.

A porched Patterson Office Tower plaza entrance to the Administration Building would be constructed under one proposal presented in drawings and plans by New York architects R. M. Kliment and Frances Halsband.

The architects noted that when the building was constructed in 1882 and through much of its early days, the rear of the building actually faced a vacant "backyard." In modern times, however, the office tower and other campus buildings have made the building appear as though it is about to be engulfed in a "wave of concrete," said Frances Halsband.

One version of the restoration plan would call for moving the statue of President James W. Patterson to a new landscaped location near the plaza entrance. The architects' preliminary plans also would call for the building to have a new two-story, 110-seat public room.

"This would be a pretty spectacular room," Halsband said.

The plans would also call for moving the UK Visitor Center from the Student Center to a remodeled portion of the lower level of the building facing Limestone Street.

One preliminary plan also would call for "raising" the building. The land around the building would be re-graded to more fully expose the outer limestone walls and the windows of what is now considered the basement. This is how the building and several other, older buildings around it appeared when the campus was first developed.

UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. told board members he wants the reconstructed Administration Building to "reflect the past and illuminate the future."

The president added, "I want it to be full of life, not just a holding place for administrators or a place to come when you're in trouble."

Todd said UK has about $7.8 million from the insurance settlement to begin the reconstruction process. However, the reconstruction under one of the plans presented would cost about $14.5 million and the second proposal - returning the building to its original grade - would cost about $16 million.

"That's a major question," the president said.

The preliminary plans also call for classrooms in the reconstructed Administration Building as it had when it was originally constructed.

The architects said that if construction began reasonably soon, a "target date for the president to walk through the door" would be late fall of 2003.

President Todd reported to the board that he hopes to have a new athletics director in place by the end of July.

The president said a program he announced during his first month in office last year of offering scholarships to all Governor's Scholars and graduates of the Governor's School for the Arts is paying big dividends. The university has already received 250 acceptances for the fall 2002 semester from these students - up from 125 the previous year.

The president updated board members on the investigation into the deaths of two students who fell to their deaths May 2 from a window in Kirwan Tower. The president said the investigation is not complete, but has already revealed that the windows meet current building codes as well as those in existence when the building was built. He said it has been well reported that the students had been wrestling at least one minute before they fell and that the university is studying the possibility of putting bars over the hallway windows.

After the Board of Trustees approved the 2002-2003 annual operating budget, UK Board Chairman Billy Joe Miles led a discussion that resulted in a motion to grant a $100,000 bonus to President Todd which trustees noted was part of the president's original incentive compensation package. The motion passed unanimously.

Citing the tight current financial climate at the university, however, President Todd said he will defer receiving the bonus at this time.

In other action, the UK Board of Trustees:

-- Accepted the report of its Ad Hoc Committee on Board Structure which, among other things, recommended a university-wide business and general code of ethics be written for all UK affiliated or related boards, including the UK Board of Trustees;

-- Accepted a gift from the Ford Motor Co. of $150,000 and the company's pledge of $600,000 from the company's truck plant in Louisville to establish the UK-Ford Manufacturing Partnership Program in the College of Engineering;

-- Authorized the sale of about 22 acres of agricultural experiment station land off the South Farm off Man O' War near Nicholasville Road; and

-- Authorized the sale of about 35 acres of the old Pin Oak farm on U.S. 60 near Frankfort. The acreage contains an 8,000 square foot home leased until 2005 to former Gov. Louie B. Nunn.

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