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University of Kentucky begins Renovation of Historic Scovell Hall – Administrative Center for Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

By Derrick Meads

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 29, 2024) — The University of Kentucky has initiated a project to renovate Scovell Hall on its central campus. The historic building will undergo a comprehensive rebuild, preserving its west and north-side entrances. Expected to be completed by 2026, the upgraded facility will encompass 92,000 square feet and serve as the administrative center for the UK Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE).

The renovation is funded by a $70 million investment from the university’s modernization fund pool, dedicated to preserving and enhancing the campus’s historical character. This project demonstrates UK’s dedication to honoring its legacy and adapting to the changing needs of its academic community.

“Establishing our presence at the heart of campus reflects the transdisciplinary nature of our college,” said Carmen Agouridis, Martin-Gatton CAFE senior associate dean. “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.”

Originally built in 1903, Scovell Hall was designed to meet the increasing demand for scientific expertise in bolstering education at agricultural colleges. Melville Amasa Scovell, a highly regarded and respected agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was appointed as the Experiment Station’s inaugural director. In 1910, he assumed the role of the college’s second dean.

Located at the intersection of South Limestone and Huguelet Drive, the renovated Scovell Hall will house:

  • The Department of Dietetics and Human Health
  • The Department of Community and Leadership Development
  • The School of Human and Environment Sciences
  • A 4,000 square foot state-of-the-art teaching kitchen
  • The Lemon Tree restaurant
  • Seven state-of-the-art classrooms and student lounge/study spaces

The centerpiece will be a cutting-edge, 4,000-square-foot teaching kitchen, serving as a new home for the Lemon Tree restaurant.

“This teaching kitchen embodies the college’s commitment to hands-on learning and the advancement of tomorrow’s health care leaders,” said Agouridis. “With a focus on utilizing food as health, students will engage in immersive experiences aimed at improving lives and fostering a deeper understanding of the vital connection between nutrition and health.”

The building, designed by JRA Architects and FLAD Architects, will combine contemporary and classical architectural design elements. When the building was first built in 1903 Scovell wrote: “Its design is colonial, the foundation being of Bedford stone, laid in ashler, and the superstructure of Columbus gray brick. A beautiful four-columned portico extends over the front entrance, giving the building the design of classic architecture.”

In addition to the Scovell Hall project, the college recently celebrated the groundbreaking of the Martin-Gatton Agricultural Sciences building. This facility will serve as the primary hub for teaching and student support, housing innovative programs made possible by the generous support of The Bill Gatton Foundation.

You can learn more about these projects at future.ca.uky.edu.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It’s all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky. 

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