Proposed state budget includes funding to renew UK buildings


Kendall Staton

Kentucky legislators are set to adopt a new budget that sets aside money for UK to renew academic buildings on campus and construct a new health education building.

The proposed budget has been approved by both sections of the state legislators, the House and Senate. If adopted by Gov. Andy Beshear, over the next few weeks the budget would allow UK to revamp its campus.

The budget creates an asset preservation pool of $154 million. This money would be used to renew academic facilities on UK’s campus. The university plans to match part of this budget with their own funds.

While no specifics about what academic facilities have been decided, the university has a process in place to determine where money will be allocated.

The budget would also give UK $250 million in bonds to build a new health education building, which will include space for several of UK’s colleges.

UK spokesperson Jay Blanton said the university is excited for this budget and believes it is a show of faith from the Kentucky legislators.

“This budget demonstrates the faith that policymakers and the governor and legislators have in UK and in other institutions in Kentucky, to do the things that are essential for the state’s future,” Blanton said. “[The budget] is also a challenge to us to continue to do more and be more in terms of addressing what the state needs for the future.”

University president Eli Capilouto called this budget “historic for higher education” and made it clear that to advance Kentucky, investments must be made.

“The state has targeted specific goals toward ensuring Kentucky in the 21st century is healthier, wealthier and wiser,” Capilouto said. “The state is now investing in the capacity of our community to make good on our promise and potential in the days and months ahead.”

He also highlighted that the UK strategic plan, the UK PURPOSE, is aligned with the values set forth by the proposed budget.

Along with these UK specific money allocations, the new budget would increase state funds that Kentucky higher education institutes receive annually for the next two years.

The state also plans to set aside millions of dollars for a program dedicated to hiring outstanding scholars, Bucks for Brains. UK uses donations to match dollars provided by the state for this program.

Blanton shared that the budget enacts performance based funding, a competitive way for higher education institutions to receive monetary awards.

With goals such as graduating a more diverse population, developing on the job skills and elevating Kentucky’s workforce, Blanton feels the university is in a good position to receive these performance based funds.

“The state has created goals for us to meet in order to get funding,” Blanton said. “The University of Kentucky has done very well under that model the past few years, so to see that there are more dollars there to incentivize meeting the goals that are most important to the state is very exciting.”