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Pence Hall’s $32M project to house College of Communication and Information

Pence Hall. Photo provided by the University of Kentucky.

Pence Hall will begin renovation this spring, transforming it into the home of the College of Communication and Information (CI) by fall 2025, according to Megan Sizemore, chief of staff for the College of Communication and Information. 

The renovation will include new classrooms, an auditorium, a seminar room, two computer labs, a white box studio, and indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, according to CI’s website

The construction will total $32 million.

Post-construction, the building will measure over 24,000 square feet, according to CI’s website.

The building will be home to the dean’s office, Department of Communication, School of Journalism and Media, Student Success, Student Media and Technology Services.

CI’s website said the project will only modify the back of the building, maintaining the historical front from the 1909 original construction

Jennifer Greer, UK acting vice provost, said the idea of Pence Hall housing the college was given to her by Mitzi Vernon, who was dean of the College of Design at the time. 

Vernon suggested Greer take Pence Hall, as the College of Design will be moving to the Reynolds Building. 

“It was just me kind of being persistent, ‘This idea really could work,’” Greer said. “Let’s use this great space we already have and just add to it and bring everybody together.”

Once Greer was hired as dean, she said her ultimate goal was to give students in the College of CI a building to themselves. 

“I really do feel when Pence opens, that that will be probably the crowning achievement of my deanship,” Greer said. 

Renovations are set to begin this coming March, according to Greer. 

“The team that’s behind all of the planning, construction facilities, they’re the ones who’ve done all the work. I was just along for the ride after I planted that seed of like, ‘Could this work?’” Greer said. 

Sizemore said the renovation of Pence Hall is a step in the right direction for the college. 

“I think it is a huge win for the college, I think it’s transformational. We’re so excited to have Pence Hall as part of the asset preservation program,” Sizemore said. 

The asset preservation program is an initiative on campus to preserve current buildings so that they continue to be used for further education. 

The current CI buildings are McVey Hall, Lucille Caudill Little Library, Central Bank Center and Pence Hall, according to the CI website.

The Central Bank Center near Rupp Arena will house state-of-the-art learning laboratories and broadcast/production studios and is expected to be in use in fall 2024,” the CI website said.

These spaces make up the collective “CI neighborhood,” which aims for a cohesive look among the buildings.

The CI website said architectural partners were inspired by nearby buildings, such as the Chemistry-Physics Building and McVey Hall-Grehan Building.

“It will really be great for our students and the college that we’re able to create this neighborhood in the central part of campus that will create synergy, collaboration and continue to serve our students and serve the university mission in terms of research, service and teaching,” Sizemore said.

Renders of the new Pence Hall:

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