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President Eli Capilouto is seeking students’ support for his campus revitalization plan that has been declared BBNunited.
This plan is the embodiment of the progressive action this administration needs to take to move UK forward.
Capilouto wrote in an op-ed to The Courier-Journal that, “More than one year ago, I stood before our campus community for the first time, acknowledging the challenges associated with preparing students for a 21st-century world using 19th-century facilities.”
There is no question that many of UK’s facilities are in need of updating. Also, there is no question this university has struggled to find financial support from the state legislature in recent years.
A proposal that will be self-financed, mostly by athletics and private donations, is the kind of innovative program needed for UK to begin long-overdue campus improvements.
The improvements laid out in the
BBNunited program are ones that the UK community as a whole should support. Because it updates academic, housing and athletics facilities, BBNunited is essentially a working compromise for those who question how the university allocates funds.
Earlier in the year, a series in the Kernel said UK would need to spend more money on football to be competitive in the SEC.
Many fans believe UK has found the coach to bring the program out of the SEC cellar, and the BBNunited updates will give Mark Stoops the facilities needed to sell the UK football program to recruits.
However, this plan also includes spending that can be supported by those who think academics are often neglected in the name of athletics.
The Gatton College of Business and economics will be renovated and expanded and a new academic and science building will be built, officials announced earlier this month.
These are academic facilities vital to UK, and the current science building is among those most needing repair or replacement.
This follows a trend of Capilouto looking beyond state funds to finance projects.
The construction on New Central Residence Hall is part of his plan to implement privatized housing on campus.
In a Monday op-ed, Capilouto, Stoops, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, Gatton Dean David Blackwell and Student Government President Stephen Bilas point out that members of the UK community were “joined by Gov. Beshear and more than 30 legislators in support of our proposal.”
However, the op-ed submitted urged students to show support. Students have been asked to contact their legislators, which can be done through BBNunited.com.
Even though this proposal will use funds from outside state government, UK still finds itself at the government’s mercy.
If UK cannot gain the support needed to move forward with this project, the needs of our facilities will continue to be neglected.
“We don’t lack for the talent to solve the seemingly intractable challenges confronting our commonwealth, country and world,” Capilouto went on to say in The Courier-Journal. “Where we must improve is creating facilities as good as our people — facilities with the high-tech learning and collaborative research space that enable our people to dream about what might be and tap into their limitless potential to make those dreams reality.”
This proposal does not solve all of UK’s facilities problems, but it can begin to address some of our campus’ most pressing needs.