Building begins for temporary Student Center structure


Construction crews move dirt around to prepare the area for construction on Monday December 2, 14 outside the Singletary Center in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Tessa Lighty

By Cheyene Miller

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The sculpture garden outside of the Singletary Center for the Arts has been fenced off as part of development for a temporary structure to be used during the construction of the new Student Center

The structure and related office space to be constructed in Blazer Hall may cost about $500,000, housing project implementation director Penny Cox estimated in an email to the Kentucky Kernel.

UK has not actually received bids and finalized the cost, she added.

The fenced-off area around the Singletary Center will house Student Center dining facilities and the credit union, as well as offices for TicketMaster, student IDs and the PLUS account during the renovation.

Moving the sculptures out of the Singletary Center area cost about $50,000, Cox wrote in the email.

According to an Oct. 30 campus-wide email from executive vice president for finance and administration Eric Monday, the total Student Center renovation will cost about $175 million.  Funding for the development project comes from student fees, as well as philanthropy contributions like Bill Gatton’s $20 million donation in September, Cox said.

“We’ll sell bonds and those will be repaid over the life of the building through the collection of fees from students,” Cox said.

The current Student Center is projected to close on May 10 and is scheduled for demolition during the summer.

Cox said that the target date to open the new Student Center is August 2017, though January 2018 is the latest possible opening date.

The design for the new Student Center is being overseen by Perkins and Will, a global architecture and design firm.

According to Monday’s email, the structure near the Singletary Center is expected to open in May, around the time when the current Student Center will close.

Many administrative offices will be moved to the third floor of Blazer Hall, Cox said, and the basement of the hall will serve as the interim Cats Den.

The Lexington Theological Seminary will also house student groups during the renovation process, Cox said.

“Our Student Center is in pretty bad shape,” Cox said.  “If you look at other schools and our benchmarks, we just don’t compete.”

Cox said that the structure outside of the Singletary Center will serve as a retail center, while Blazer will be used as an administrative zone.