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UK celebrates latest campus construction project, announces naming contest for new facility

Rendering of the outside of the Winslow facility. (Image from UK)

By Ryan Girves and Jay Blanton
University of Kentucky

The planned transformation of property at South Limestone Street and Winslow Street — what is now referred to as the Winslow Project — is moving quickly.

So much so, that University of Kentucky officials, along with the institution’s real estate partner, launched a community and campus-wide naming contest for the property that will be the cornerstone of an innovation district that further links the university and the city.

The Winslow Project, which was originally announced and approved by UK’s Board of Trustees in February, supports the university’s future in technology, entrepreneurship, education, creativity, service, and research, while working hand-in-hand to make strides in the university’s Transportation Master Plan.

UK Presdient Eli Capilouto speaks at the Winslow announcement, while student Brianna Ritchison, left, and Tony Manna, Signet, look on. (Photo by Mark Cornelison, UK)

The property will include over 900 new parking spaces and 23,000 square feet on the ground floor dedicated to:

• Retail space, which will include a food hall focused on local eateries and craft beer

• UK innovation space.

UK is working with Signet Real Estate Group, one of the country’s leaders in higher education public-private-partnership (P3) real estate developments, to develop the property.

“Our community is built on collaboration, and without the design, development, and construction teams in partnership with Signet Real Estate, none of this would have been possible,” said President Eli Capilouto. “The Winslow Project is another way we have furthered our commitment to our campus and the city of Lexington and is another step toward creating a campus that will better serve the needs of our students, faculty, staff and Commonwealth.”

Serving as a multifaceted, multi-purpose space, the project will be another space on campus where ingenuity and creativity unfold. The variety of elements it will cover include serving as a home for UK esports (with a planned esports theater and gamers’ lounge) and flexible innovation space.

The idea is to leverage the open-format space and use of technology to maximize student success, enhance a sense of community, bring together the university and community to foster outcome- and solution-driven thinking and design, connect people with different passions and interests, and provide new pathways for career development in the entrepreneurial fields.

Through the P3 with Signet, the project is expected to open in Fall 2020, furthering the momentum of the university’s growing campus. The Winslow property will be a cornerstone in a planned innovation district or corridor that includes the College of Fine Arts’ Bolivar property and a planned development by the College of Design at the old Reynolds property.

Rendering of projected food hall at Winslow facility. (Image from UK)

Spencer Hyatt, vice president of Signet Real Estate Group, said, “It has been our great pleasure to partner with the University of Kentucky on this exciting project. UK is one of the very best partners Signet has in our nearly 25 years working in higher education development.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration in the ground floor retail areas where Signet will deliver a truly unique food hall focused exclusively on local retailers. This environment will encourage ‘Campus to Community,’ including coffee, bar service, and culinary fare. We look forward to announcing our first tenants for this retail destination in the very near future.”

To further involve the community in this new project, the university is holding a naming contest, allowing the public to vote on their favorite name for the Winslow Project, Capilouto announced Wednesday. To do so, faculty, staff, students and community members can visit www.uky.edu to choose one of six names suggested for the property that best conveys the potential of the structure.

The names — and rationales for each name — include:

The Cornerstone (At UK)
A central tenet upon which our university is based and will build on moving forward.

The Wheelhouse (At UK)
Playing to our strengths as an institution and a community, we press our advantage.

UK Idea Market (UKIM)
A free-flowing exchange of ideas, action and Kentucky culture.

The Upper Level
Connotes advanced higher education; building faces Upper Street.

The Gateway (At UK)
A way of achieving something significant; something within a larger organization that allows you access to other parts.

The Converge (At UK)
The point at which the sum of our parts becomes our best concepts and ideas.

Voting for the name of the new building will take place through Friday, Dec. 6.

“As a student, I’m excited about the promise this development holds as a place where students can work and play and imagine, together with the community, what is possible,” said Brianna Ritchison, a UK senior and member of the esports club at UK. “My hope is that this space will be a place that ignites the passions of students, that helps us see that our aspirations can be reality and that helps drive an understanding that with work, imagination and persistence, anything is possible.”

Jay Blanton is executive director of University of Kentucky Public Relations and Marketing. Ryan Girves writes for UK Now

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