Construction reveals spirited history



By Jarrod Thacker

The pedestrian walkway over Cooper Drive will display school spirit for the remainder of the spring semester.

Last October, a structural deficiency was discovered in the pedway that joins the W.P. Garrigus and Charles E. Barnhart buildings during a routine inspection.  The structure has been shut down for repair since then, which has been an inconvenience to students.

Recent work on the walkway has uncovered an enthusiastic “Go Cats!” painted on both sides of the now-exposed steel framing. This has left some curious as to who left this message more than 20 years ago.

Lexington’s Harry Gordon Steel Co. Inc. originally furnished and installed the construct.

“I’ve lived in Lexington all of my life, and you can’t live in Lexington without being a Cats fan,” Ben Norris, owner of Harry Gordon Steel and UK alumus, said.

The company was established at its current location on Patterson Street in 1958.

Norris said his company has worked on several different UK buildings off and on since the 1970s, such as the steel infrastructure in Kirwan Tower and, most recently, the College of Pharmacy.

Norris said some of these projects also share the “Go Cats!” emblem.

Current economic conditions have the company mostly working outside of Lexington, but Norris said he would print the message again if given the opportunity.

“We rooted for UK back then and we root for UK now,” he said. “You get it in blood and it’s hard to get rid of.”

The damage to the pedway has been assessed, and bids for the reconstruction project are now being considered, UK spokesman Carl Nathe said. Bids are due by the end of March.

Once a contractor is selected, construction will begin during summer and is expected to be completed by the beginning of the fall semester, sealing the spirited time capsule again.