UK Main Building Construction History

Contact: Mary Margaret Colliver



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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 25, 2004) -- The original classroom building was designed by Harry P. McDonald of McDonald and Brothers (Architects) of Louisville, Ky. The building started construction in 1881 and was dedicated on February 15, 1882. The following modifications have been made:

1897 -- Top portion of clock tower was removed. It reportedly caught fire from lightning. (UK Building Commission report on Aug. 21, 1897).

1903 -- Spanish cannon gun saved from dump and brought to the United States after the Spanish-American War. Presented to President Patterson in 1903.

1915 -- Roof Observatory moved to downtown Lexington.

1919 -- Removed lower portion of clock tower that had been dislodged by high winds, as reported in The Lexington Leader June 13, 1919.

1929 -- Interior office improvements, including adding interior stairs from basement to first floor. (Stairs had been removed at some time.)

1932 -- Exterior lights on either side of front entrance were relocated from the Phoenix Hotel (downtown Lexington) after street front renovation.

1939 -- Expansion of business offices in basement with connecting private stairs to first floor above, extreme northwest corner. Stairs have been removed at some unknown time.

1948 -- Building was re-named “ Administration Building.”

1963 -- Interior refurbishment of spaces for president, vice president and trustees’ conference rooms. Designed by Design Art Corporation of Cincinnati, Ohio.

1964 -- Electrical Upgrade (Proctor-Ingels & Associates).

1965-66 -- Major interior renovation – Phase 1, including re-working stairs, all finishes, adding private restrooms, ceilings. Designed by Johnson-Romanowitz.

1968 -- Interior Remodeling – Phase 2 designed by Johnson-Romanowitz.

1970 -- Sandblasted metal fascia and tuck pointed brick. (J.D. White Co. of Louisville was contractor).

1971 -- Windows were replaced with the metal windows that are currently installed. These are the third set of windows installed on this building.

1975 -- Extended 3 rd floor corridor over chapel. ( UK Design & Construction Division).

1994 -- New elevator and shaft was added, including rear entry. Third floor corridor was re-constructed. (Tate-Hill-Jacobs Architects).

2001 -- Replaced metal fascia and limestone window heads, etc. (James W. Potts – Architects; Midland Engineering Co. was contractor).

May 15, 2001 -- Major fire damage consumed roof and top two floors. Lower spaces were severely water damaged.

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