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UK to open largest academic building in campus history

Tomorrow Inc
Rendering of the new UK Health Education Building scheduled to open in 2026. Provided photo by the University of Kentucky

A ceremony was held for the new Health Education Building, which will be the largest academic building in campus history, according to a press release from UKNOW.

Representatives from UK’s four health colleges and the Center for Interprofessional and Community Health Education (CICHE) met with officials and faculty on Friday, Oct. 27 for the ceremony.

Scheduled to open in 2026, the 500,000-square-foot building will be home to healthcare programs for UK’s four health colleges and CICHE, according to the release.

The colleges will include the Colleges of Medicine, Public Health, Health Sciences and Nursing.

The building will be located at the intersection of Huguelet and University Drive, and it is said to become a “campus landmark” in the next few years, the release said. 

“(It) will feature technological advancements, modern aesthetics and a spacious environment conducive to learning and serve as a hub for health education,” the release said.

The building is a $380 million project, and construction was started in June 2023. 

“We will educate students for a new health care future, collaborative through transdisciplinary work and attract and retain the best and brightest to advance Kentucky,” UK President Eli Capilouto said. “Our goal – our promise – is that when our students complete these programs and join the workforce, they are well-equipped to face today’s complex challenges and help all Kentuckians live longer and healthier lives.” 

According to the release, each of the four health colleges will see an increase in enrollment as a result of the new building. 

Notably, the College of Medicine is projected to grow the medical program in Lexington by 62 students per year, which will make the overall enrollment more than 1,000 medical students. 

This will make UK one of the largest medical schools in the country, the release said.

Dr. Stephanie White, senior associate dean for medical student education in the College of Medicine, said she was emcee at the groundbreaking ceremony.

White said many people at the event were stakeholders, but many of the people there were also hearing about the new building for the first time in a concrete manner.

“It was exciting to see everyone come together and acknowledge that progress has been made,” she said. 

She said even though there’s no building yet, they can still say that they’re actually starting to break ground, which makes the project feel more real and tangible. 

“There’s been a tremendous amount of work that’s been done on getting us to the place of actualizing the health education building,” she said.  

White said the College of Medicine has grown significantly over the past decade, and there’s not really a central building for those students. 

“This building allows for us to really bring students together in a way that facilitates their learning, that facilitates collaboration and that gives them that home on campus to advance their education,” she said. 

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