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New science building becomes reality with $65 million from Kentucky athletics

A classroom in the new Don and Cathy Jacobs Science Building is designed to allow students flexibility to interact with their classmates and professors. University of Kentucky photo

Sometimes the best plans are drawn up on napkins.

That’s how the funding of a new $112 million science building at Kentucky took shape five years ago during a meeting between university President Eli Capilouto and Wildcats Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart.

The athletics department contributed $65 million toward the Don and Cathy Jacobs Science Building, which opened in time for the 2016-17 academic year.

“We believe that athletics, health care and other parts of the university are essential for us to work together to achieve institutional goals,” says Eric Monday, Kentucky executive vice president for finance and administration. “We transfer athletics funds to capital projects, scholarships or other initiatives on campus. … All of us pull in the direction of helping our students become college graduates.”

The three-level, 240,000-square-foot facility is state of the art: Classrooms are designed to let faculty move easily within them, enhancing interaction with students, and laboratories were constructed with corridors behind the active workrooms to allow chemicals to be transported outside the spaces occupied by students.

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