Ground broken for largest academic building in UK history

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, October 31, 2023

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A ceremonial groundbreaking for the 500,000 square foot Health Education Building – the largest academic building in University of Kentucky history – took place Monday.

The building will house programs in the colleges of Medicine, Public Health, Health Sciences and Nursing, as well as the Center for Interprofessional and Community Health Education.  The new facility will become a prominent campus landmark at the intersection of Huguelet and University Drives when it opens in 2026.

“As a testament to our collaborative spirit, this one facility will contain programs from four colleges and the Center for Interprofessional and Community Health Education,” said UK President Eli Capilouto.  “We will educate students for a new health care future, collaborate through transdisciplinary work and attract and retain the best and brightest to advance Kentucky.  Our goal – our promise – is that when our students complete these programs and join the workforce, they are well-equipped to face today’s complex challenges and help all Kentuckians live longer and healthier lives.”

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The state-of-the-art Health Education Building will feature technological advancements, modern aesthetics and a spacious environment conducive to learning and serve as a hub for health education.  UK says it will provide an exceptional learning setting preparing the next generation of health care leaders, health and rehabilitation practitioners, nurses, physicians, public health professionals, scientists and more.

“Education is the foundation for how we prepare tomorrow’s leaders, and that is what will propel Kentucky into the future,” Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman stated. “This investment will eliminate barriers to success, increase opportunities for students and help us achieve our goal of a quality education for every Kentuckian.”

The building will have eight floors on the south wing and 10 floors on the north wing.  77% of the space will be dedicated to academic, shared and collaborative spaces for students and faculty.  That includes 25% devoted to classrooms and learning labs and 34% for simulation and experiential learning.

UK says this facility is part of their mission to alleviate the shortage of health care providers, including physicians, nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, athletic trainers, medical laboratory scientists, speech language pathologists, audiologists, public health officials and other health care professionals.

The $380 million project was authorized by the 2022 Kentucky General Assembly and the construction phase was approved by the UK Board of Trustees in June 2023.