University of Kentucky Moves Ahead on Pair of Innovative Projects

By Eric Althoff

LEXINGTON, Ky.—A pair of projects at the University of Kentucky will add modern teaching facilities as well as reimagine one of the campus’s classic buildings.

Turner Construction Company has been hired to add a $184 million Agriculture Research Building for the UK campus. As designed by BHDP Architecture and Flad Architects, the building will offer a 250-seat auditorium in addition to laboratories and traditional teaching spaces. The 190,000-square-foot Agriculture Research Building will serve as the locus for UK’s research activities when completed in 2027. The building will feature such research amenities as greenhouses and collaborative spaces.

Turner has worked on several earlier projects at UK, including the Albert B. Chandler Hospital and the upcoming Health Education Building, targeted for completion in 2026.

“We are thrilled to continue supporting the mission of the University of Kentucky,” Erin Mignano, vice president and general manager at Turner Construction Company, said in a statement regarding her firm’s work. “The new Agriculture Research Building will have a tremendous benefit for the students and what they will achieve in their careers. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the University of Kentucky and all our partners to bring this project to life.”

When completed, the Agriculture Research Building will be home to UK’s departments of horticulture, entomology, animal and food sciences, plant and soil sciences, as well as a plant diagnostic lab and insect rearing lab. Other scientific research applications within the facility will include a food sensory lab and growth chambers.

“This project is a gateway project for the university providing a new, state-of-the-art facility for their agricultural research and student learning,” said Vice President and Construction Executive David Opalka of Turner Construction Company. “Their existing facilities will be demolished as part of the upcoming $1.7 billion hospital expansion project. We appreciate the University selecting us for this particularly important project for both the university and UK Healthcare.”

Elsewhere on the campus, contractor Congleton-Hacker is working with JRA Architects and Flad Architects to renovate UK’s historic Scovell Hall, built in 1903. The renovation, encompassing 92,000 square feet, will create the administrative center for UK’s Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE). Scovell Hall will also be home to the Department of Dietetics and Human Health, the School of Human and Environment Sciences, the School of Human and Environment Sciences and the Department of Community and Leadership Development. A state-of-the-art teaching kitchen and the connected Lemon Tree restaurant will also be part of the redesign of Scovell Hall.

“This will help our students and faculty members collaborate more closely with other colleges on central campus, bolstering our ability to prepare students to become the innovative leaders that our state and world needs,” said Carmen Agouridis, Martin-Gatton CAFE senior associate dean.

Scovell Hall’s redesign will be ready in 2026.