October 11, 2013
Contact: Michele Sparks, Director of Communications (859) 257-0040
For Immediate Release

Gatton College Reveals Building Design, Breaks Ground

The University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics revealed the architectural plans and held a ceremonial groundbreaking for a major expansion and renovation of its facilities on October 11, 2013. UK President Eli Capilouto and Gatton College Dean David W. Blackwell were joined by Governor Steve Beshear, other state officials, major donors, faculty, staff and students in unveiling details of the $65 million project.

The expansion and renovation of the Gatton College is part of UK's overall capital improvement plan (House Bill 7) approved earlier this year by the Kentucky General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Beshear. No state tax dollars will be used in any of the UK construction projects, which include the Gatton project, a new science building on campus, and improvements to Commonwealth Stadium and UK's football facilities.

The Gatton College of Business & Economics will remain at the front door of campus with its footprint expanding by 40 percent to 210,000 square feet. The new main entry, which will face the interior of the University campus, features a beautiful garden plaza. An ideal outdoor setting, the garden will be a gathering place for faculty, staff, and students to socialize and network while experiencing the beautiful Kentucky weather. Upon entering the new main entrance to the Gatton College from the interior of the University campus, the central atrium is revealed. Considered the living room of the facility, the atrium will be a hub of activity for the College and University community. With study tables and leather seating, the atrium will be a gathering point for the community to dine, study, and work together. At the opposite end of the atrium, the new College cafe will be housed. The cafe will be a grab-and-go snack and lunch bar giving the campus another dining option.  Additionally, the College’s Undergraduate Resource Center and Graham Office of Career Management will be adjacent to the atrium allowing easy access for students. As part of the new facility, a 500-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium will be constructed. Designed for large classes, lectures, and special events, the auditorium will be a useful addition not only for the Gatton College, but for the University as a whole. With theater-style seating, the auditorium will be equipped with high-tech audio-visual capabilities to suit any number of College and University events.  From banquets to the Gatton College’s annual Alumni Hall of Fame event, the new special events hall will be another must-have addition to the expanded College facility. Designed for higher-end events, the hall can be arranged for lectures or dinners seating anywhere from 75-200 people. It will also have modern audio-visual components that can serve as a backdrop for these special events. Housed on the third floor of the new facility, the special events hall opens to an outdoor terrace that overlooks the University campus and Memorial Hall. At the heart of any educational institution are the learning spaces for students. The new Gatton facility will house cutting-edge classrooms designed for optimal learning experiences. Within the new facility there will be: Ten 45-seat classrooms; Six 85-seat classrooms; Three 70-seat classrooms; One 65-seat classroom. In today’s business school environments, collaborative learning is emphasized and encouraged. To help facilitate this, the new Gatton facility will house more than 40 study rooms scattered throughout the building. In addition to these rooms, the College will also have a quiet study area and a large atrium for expanded study opportunities on the main floor. There are also lounge areas and conference rooms throughout the building for faculty, staff, administration, and graduate students to use for meetings and seminars. Faculty research provides the foundation for any business school education. Allowing faculty to have offices that encourage top-notch research is imperative. Housed on the perimeter of three floors are more than 100 faculty offices. Close-by are nearly 30 graduate student offices allowing for easy access for doctoral students to meet with their faculty advisors and mentors. The Behavioral Research Lab within the Gatton College will be a resource for faculty and students to conduct a broad range of market research. The space can be adjusted to meet the needs of the research being conducted in a controlled environment. The lab will contain a computer room equipped with numerous work stations each with its own privacy screens in addition to the retail area and behavioral viewing station. In the Finance Learning Center, students will learn in a technologically advanced classroom which simulates a real trading environment with digital displays that will feed real-time financial and market information. Students will sit in small clusters throughout the room allowing for more collaboration and giving them an introduction to the environment and atmosphere they will be working in following graduation. In keeping with the design of leading businesses, the Dean’s Suite is designed with an open floor plan allowing for greater collaboration between members of the Dean’s administrative staff. It will house a conference room, work stations for 12 staff members, and six enclosed offices. A reception area will greet visitors upon entering the suite. For conferences and the semi-annual Dean’s Advisory Council meetings, the Executive Board Room will be located across from the Dean’s Suite. Overlooking the atrium, the Executive Board Room will be a high-end conference room equipped with state-of-the-art conferencing equipment. A large board table centers the room for discussion.

Capilouto expressed his gratitude to the college's benefactors who collectively have made more than $45 million in pledges and contributions toward the ambitious undertaking. He also praised the work of Blackwell since the dean arrived on campus in March 2012. "Dean Blackwell hit the ground running and has not stopped," said Capilouto. "He and his team have done a tremendous job in raising additional support for this project while coming up with a design which will add to the beauty of our campus while providing truly state-of-the-art facilities in which our students will learn in an optimal, collaborative environment."

The Gatton College is expected to grow substantially in the number of students entering its programs in future years, as well as in the quality of the academic profile of those students.

The dean expressed his appreciation to individual alumni, foundations, corporations and other friends of the college for their generosity.

"The support for our college and its bold plans for the future has been nothing short of sensational," Blackwell said. "If you spend any time on the UK campus these days, you hear the word 'momentum' a lot, and that certainly applies here."

“The expansion of the Gatton College will greatly contribute to the already impressive and thriving University of Kentucky campus,” said Gov. Beshear. “Top-quality institutions not only attract first-rate students, they produce a highly educated workforce that will draw in new businesses and spur economic development in the state. Congratulations to President Capilouto, Dean Blackwell and to the many donors, faculty and staff who helped make this project possible.”

"UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics provided me with a strong foundation upon which to build my business career and my life," said Howard Lewis, chair of the Gatton United Campaign. "Those of us who benefited from our experiences as students are happy and proud to be able to contribute to this wonderful college in order to help future generations of students succeed."

The expansion and renovation plans call for a dramatic increase in space for educational offerings, as well as high-tech enhancements to classrooms and laboratories for students on both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Among the highlights which will be part of the facility:

  • The footprint of the college will expand by 40 percent to 210,000 square feet.
  • A new main entrance from the interior of the university campus, with an atrium that will serves as the 'living room' of the building.
  • A 500-seat auditorium designed for special events and large lectures.
  • A new Behavioral Research Lab.
  • A new Finance Learning Center which includes an advanced classroom with a simulated trading environment featuring digital displays feeding real-time financial and market information.
  • 20 new classrooms, including 10, 45-seat classrooms; six, 85-seat classrooms; three, 70-seat classrooms; and one, 65-seat classroom.
  • More than 40 collaborative study or breakout rooms.
  • An outdoor garden plaza which will serve as a gathering place for students, faculty and staff to socialize and network on nice weather days.
  • A Special Events Hall with audio-visual components to accommodate dinners and lectures seating anywhere from 75-200 people.

For visuals of what the new facility will look like, please go to

The timetable calls for completion of the project by Spring 2016.