The UK campus is undergoing a major transformation. Construction projects are underway throughout campus, and none is more significant to the life of the university than the new $175 million Student Center.
Student Centers — often referred to as the "living room" of a campus — are more than just buildings. Student Centers provide space for students to collaborate, study, dine, recreate and most importantly — build community. At the University of Kentucky, we are committed to creating a Student Center that does just that: provides a community-gathering venue that serves as a welcoming respite for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Since 2011, we've invested more than $1.7 billion in facilities projects, aimed at fostering the best environment for student success. So as we continue to transform our campus, the Student Center project further exemplifies that commitment.
Of course, in order to determine how to create the best living room for our campus, we asked students and others for input. What kinds of spaces are needed? What kinds of technology will help students succeed? This process of gathering input and engaging in conversations with our students and others was pivotal as we designed this facility.
The new student center will include the following features, among others:
Dedicated Student Org Space. Our students told us that they want more space for their student organization offices — spaces like the Center for Community Outreach, the Student Activities Board and Student Government. The new Student Center will provide a dedicated area for these offices, with more space than the current facility.
Visitors Center. A beautiful new Visitor's Center will be located off of the skywalk leading from Parking Structure 5, allowing prospective students and families to enter this area immediately when they arrive on our campus.
Martin Luther King Center. The Martin Luther King Center will be located at the heart of the building. It will house cultural heritage information, program and educational support functions, as well as social and cultural development areas.
Blue Box Theater. A 250 variable seat "Blue Box Theater" will be equipped with state of the art technology, making it flexible for all kinds of performances from recitals, to concerts, to experimental theater and performance art, to dinner theaters.
Senate Chambers. An 80+ seat, high-tech senate chamber, equipped with video technology, roll-call voting and individual microphones will create an ideal space for Student Government functions and University Senate meetings, among other events.
Social Staircase. Located in the center of the building and inspired by the limestone creek and riverbeds, a huge social staircase will serve as an ideal space to see and be seen in the Student Center. This staircase will allow students to socialize, relax and converse in this area. The contours will resemble the bed of a "river of knowledge" flowing through the building.
Residential and Retail Dining. An approximately 600 seat residential dining area will provide a large fresh food area. Retail dining options like Subway, Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, Greens to Go, Starbucks and other favorites will also be included.
Outdoor Social Spaces. On all sides of the new and reimagined Student Center there will be outdoor social spaces for dining, informal programs and socializing. The outdoor spaces will interact seamlessly with space inside the Student Center in a very transparent way, so the outside becomes an active part of the Student Center.
On May 18, we officially closed the doors of our current student center, making way for the next phase of our campus transformation. For months we have had an experienced team working to develop a plan to temporarily relocate the vital services currently housed in the Student Center.
To learn more about where these services are being relocated, visit UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Monday’s blog.
You can also view this map, which outlines the student center construction area and identifies each of the impacted areas.