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University of Kentucky Breaks Ground on New Health Education Building

As the largest academic building in the history of the University of Kentucky, the 500,000-sq.-ft. Health Education Building will house programs in the colleges of Medicine, Public Health, Health Sciences and Nursing as well as the Center for Interprofessional and Community Health Education.

The University of Kentucky has kicked off construction its new state-of-the-art Health Education Building. The building will serve as a campus hub for health education and feature technological advancements, modern aesthetics and an exceptional learning setting to prepare the next generation of healthcare leaders, health and rehabilitation practitioners, nurses, physicians, public health professionals, scientists and more.

“As a testament to our collaborative spirit, this one facility will contain programs from four colleges and the Center for Interprofessional and Community Health Education. We will educate students for a new healthcare future, collaborate through transdisciplinary work and attract and retain the best and brightest to advance Kentucky,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “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.”

The building will be located across University Drive from University Flats with eight floors on the south wing and 10 floors utilized on the north wing. Currently, 77% of the space will be dedicated to academic, shared and collaborative spaces for students and faculty, including 25% devoted to classrooms and learning labs and 34% for simulation and experiential learning.

The building’s north wing exterior will feature brick and glass. As the building transitions, the south wing’s expansive glass front allows faculty workspace offices to receive ample natural light. Along University Drive, a signature “basketweave” facade will align with the curved roadway. A glowing glass “lantern” structure anchors the northeast corner.

HOK is the design architect for the building, working in conjunction with construction manager Turner Construction and local design partner JRA Architects.

HOK co-CEO Eli Hoisington speaks at the Oct. 27 groundbreaking of University of Kentucky's new Health Education Building.

HOK Co-CEO Eli Hoisington speaks at the Oct. 27 groundbreaking of University of Kentucky’s new Health Education Building.

“This is a wonderful building for the university and the state, and the credit for that goes to university leadership, the deans and their staff,” said Eli Hoisington, HOK Co-CEO and design principal for the firm’s St. Louis studio. “This has been one of the most collaborative and engaging processes our team has worked on. Looking at our practice across the country, the scale and breadth of what is happening here is unprecedented.”

The building’s design encourages and promotes collaboration among the colleges with flexible, student-centric spaces. Shared hallways, classrooms and educational labs will advance the exchange of ideas, knowledge and perspectives, leading to research studies, development of new treatment approaches and implementation of evidence-based practices that improve patient outcomes. For example, medical, health science and nursing students will be able to simulate real-life, patient-based experiences through the standardized patient program.

The $380-million building is scheduled to open in 2026.

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