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Renovation and Expansion FAQ

Law Building Renovation Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of project is being planned?
A renovation and expansion of the law building is being planned to deliver the most engaging legal education possible to students. 

Why does UK Law require a renovated building?
The current building was constructed in 1965. Legal education has changed dramatically since it was built. The UK College of Law has facilitated engagement among students and faculty in spite of the challenges of the current building.

However, the current building was not constructed for the type of interaction students and faculty expect and deserve today. It does not currently have small seminar classrooms; a small moot courtroom for litigation training; a large courtroom for conferences, lectures and important events; or enough group study spaces.

In the renovated building, the number of classrooms will be increased and those classrooms will be equipped with improved acoustics, seats and technology. The renovated building will also increase the number of group study rooms, an important aspect to any 21st century legal education that was not taken into account 50 years ago.

More and improved student gathering spaces will be a significant feature of the new facility as well. In law school, students are spending their entire days, every day, in the law building. The renovated building will be an inviting academic space that recognizes how important student to student interaction is to academics and will offer spaces for students to meet, talk through cases and analyses, and hear from different perspectives. In the current building, students must all too often leave campus for group study.

What is the timing of construction? How long will this take?

  • Move-out – summer 2017 (after graduation)
  • Move-in – fall 2019

What will happen during construction? Where will classes take place?
Administrative space for staff and faculty will be relocated to a portion of the former Lexington Seminary Building (across the street from the current Law Building). Two classrooms exist in that space. Other classes will be held in close proximity to the former Seminary building, in Gatton College of Business & Economics and Memorial Hall. Moreover, the College of Law and the university are developing a transition timeline for faculty and staff to prepare for the move. The College hopes to finalize that timeline by late March. UK students, faculty and staff went through a similar process during the two-year renovation and expansion of the Gatton College of Business and Economics Building. In fact, they occupied many of the same facilities, such as the seminary building, that we will be utilizing.

Why won't the college renovate parts of the building while still holding classes in other parts of the building?
Holding classes in the building during construction would cause frequent disruptions. Noise and air quality issues would be very distracting. Fire code requirements also make inhabiting a building during construction more complicated. To ensure safety and minimal distraction for our students, moving out of the building during the construction phase is the best option. It would also take longer to complete renovation without vacating the building.

What impact will the project have on law school activities during construction?
The College of Law will still host the same classes and activities and will be intentional in fostering the same level of interaction and communication. College faculty and staff will continue to ensure the best legal education experience and ensure the renovation has minimal impact on students.

When did discussions begin on this project?
We received the budget approval on the project in late September, and began to move forward discussing preliminary designs with faculty, staff and students in the fall of 2016, offering several opportunities to give input. We advised students, faculty and staff that opportunities for discussion would continue as we learn more about the process. All of the college’s stakeholders – students, faculty, staff and alumni – have been and will be kept informed as we move throughout this process.

How will these building improvements and modifications improve the campus?
The law building is the bookend of central campus. As such, the architects are sensitive to – and informed by – the importance of surrounding spaces, such as Memorial Hall, the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics and the new Student Center currently under construction. The architects will work to complement those buildings. The enhanced law building will demonstrate our dedication to students and bring a sense of pride to the core academic campus.

How will construction impact surrounding areas around the law building?
Current design plans do not encroach on the Mathews Garden or the Mathews and Ligon houses. The Construction Manager is working on the site logistics plan.  More information will be available by the end of April 2017.

When will it open?
Current plans set the opening date at fall of 2019.

What is the official name of the renovated building?
University of Kentucky College of Law. There are currently no plans for naming the building.

Who are the architects?
Design – Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates of NYC
Design – Sherman Carter Barnhart of Lexington

Who is the construction firm?
Congleton-Hacker Company of Lexington.

How much will the new building cost? How is the project being funded?
$53 million. The State is providing $35M in bonds and the rest is a mix of private and university funding.

How will this impact students' tuition and fees?
Students' tuition and fees will not be impacted by the renovation.

Key persons on the project:
Prof. Mary Davis is chair of the building committee. Assistant Dean Danny Murphy serves as a point of contact.  

Where can the community go to find information on the project?
The college is committed to keeping the community informed every step of the way. The UK Law website and social media pages will be updated with the most current information.