Construction should be used to better learning environments, not appearances for more money


Brady Saylor

Fencing blocks off an area under construction near White Hall Classroom Building on Monday, March 6, 2023, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Brady Saylor | Staff

Gracie Moore, Reporter

There hasn’t been a single day without construction since I first stepped foot on UK’s campus. 

I understand the desire to improve infrastructure and modernize the campus, but UK needs to choose better construction projects and spread their funds equally around all colleges and buildings. 

Current projects on campus include updates to the Chemistry-Physics building, the construction of Alumni Commons and renovations to Frazee Hall. 

The proximity of the construction on Chem-Phys and Rose Street created an expansive area that blocks off widely used walking routes and resulted in the relocation of accessible routes. 

The accessible route placed on the side of Chem-Phys facing Rose Street is blocked by construction, so the closest and only route available is on the other side of the building facing White Hall. 

Entrances and exits to the Mining and Minerals Resources building and the Hilary J. Boone Center are also blocked off. Construction areas bleed onto Funkhouser Drive and the Rose Street walkway. 

The inconvenience of these projects wouldn’t be so terrible if they were completed in a timely manner or heavily worked on over breaks. 

But despite UK’s unrealistic projections, construction is far from finished.

Current project descriptions and timelines can be found on the UK Construction website

According to the website, the Chem-Phys modernization was scheduled to be completed by early 2022, while the renovations on Frazee Hall were set to be finished in July 2022. 

While the exterior of Chem-Phys is modern and futuristic, most of the interior continues to remind me of a high school with no change in sight. 

Frazee Hall is still surrounded by construction tape and barriers. 

The construction of the future Alumni Commons on Rose Street is scheduled to be finished by June 2023, but with other projects almost a year overdue, I think it’s safe to assume that the project will linger for at least another year. 

This project could have absolutely waited until the construction on Chem-Phys and Rose Street was completed. Rather than focusing on outside appearances to bring more students into an already overwhelmed university, it would be more beneficial to focus on the inside where learning occurs. 

The lack of communication regarding construction updates and the lack of attention to other buildings and colleges is unfair to students and faculty.  

In 2018, UK outlined a $500 million campus modernization project. This included the expansion of the College of Engineering and new homes for the College of Communication and Information as well as the College of Design. 

Very few of these projects have begun. 

The College of Communication and Information advising office was relocated from Blazer Dining to the Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library, which is far from a permanent residence solely for the college.

Ground has been broken on the former Reynolds Building for the new home of the College of Design, but the updates given on the college’s website are quite vague. 

I expected more progress from the university for the amount of money spent and the time that has passed. 

I find it unfair that so many colleges are spread across multiple buildings and don’t have one place to call home, while others continue to be upgraded. Many offices and colleges are forced to relocate often. 

Just because certain colleges bring in more money to the university doesn’t mean they can neglect other ones.

All students deserve a modern and welcoming environment to learn, regardless of their major. Renovations shouldn’t be based on what college creates the most money. 

As an equal opportunity university, UK has an obligation to their students and faculty to make every building safe, comfortable and somewhat contemporary. 

Even if all buildings can’t have the same renovations, the gaps between the nicest buildings and the worst are far too large. 

UK should think about making small changes across campus to ensure that everyone has the appropriate resources and space necessary to teach and learn.