Kernel Editorial: Flooding at Fine Arts Building is a wake-up call

The condition of UK’s Fine Arts Building was called into question in recent weeks by concerned students after the building flooded before spring break.

“What we do in the College of Fine Arts — the sculptures and what not — if you take away the things Fine Arts do, a big part of campus life is gone and people don’t understand that. The least we ask is for a building,” vocal performance senior Reginald Smith Jr. told the Kernel.

Students began voicing strong opinions on an online story reporting that a water line broke two weeks ago in the building, flooding the area near a men’s restroom.

The Kernel later reported floods also occurred in the building in 2010 and 2011.

“What is it going to take to get a decent Fine Arts building? Because apparently two floods … and absolute decay for the state’s flagship Fine Arts program isn’t enough to warrant serious consideration. Go Cats, right?” said the first person to comment on the story, using the name Alex Johnson.

Later commenters pointed out the disrepair of the Wenner-Gren, Thomas Poe Cooper Forestry, and Mining and Minerals Resources buildings.

Many facilities on campus are currently in need of major repairs and some will be repaired before others. But the flooding in the bathroom of Fine Arts would lead many to believe that building is among the most in need.

“With all the money the university is pouring into better athletic facilities, a new Chemistry/Physics building, and expanding an already plush Gatton building, isn’t it time a more permanent solution was given to a building that is in disrepair and risking the health and safety of the students?” said another commenter using the name Will Jacobs.

Although Gatton renovations are a good start, more must be done to address buildings and departments with buildings in more need.

President Eli Capilouto has emphasized the passage of House Bill 7, which uses private funds and athletics donations to fund the Gatton and football facility renovations, as well as the new science building.

The university has been innovative in finding funding for these projects, so other means of funding for these buildings might also exist.

One good start is transferring the Art Department from the Reynolds Building to a converted space on Bolivar Street.

“That represents an investment of millions of dollars. It would be incorrect to suggest that Fine Arts is not part of that investment,” UK spokesman Jay Blanton said in a Tuesday Kernel article.

But as facilities such as Chem/Phys, which holds classes for many majors and departments, gets a replacement, so should other buildings that serve a similiar purpose, such as the Fine Arts Building which holds classes for varying subjects.

“The Fine Arts Building is more like a home; and our home is falling apart. The Fine Arts Building is the face of our entire college. Prospective students come here for college orientation; other students come here for private lessons,” said a commenter using the name Rachel Hoiby. “It’s the building the parents look at and where they imagine their children learning. A good building would go a long way.”

As the university moves forward revitalizing campus, at least fixing  potentially hazardous parts of buildings should be a priority for all departments.