- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The University of Kentucky plans to proceed with razing eight buildings over the summer to make way for new construction.

The Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/1h8JycP) reports the move comes despite some objections from preservationists, who have noted that some of the buildings are historic and iconic.

The school expects to spend $4 million to demolish buildings including Hamilton House, which was built in 1880, and Wenner-Gren Research Laboratory, which housed UK’s early aeronautic research.

UK Vice President for Facilities Bob Wiseman says officials try to save historic buildings when possible, but student recruitment and retention is hurt by aging and defunct dorms.

“It’s based on critical analysis; our central core has to be walkable, and we can’t expand outward, so very small buildings are in danger of being removed,” he said. “The residence halls on north campus didn’t accommodate the modern living and learning communities that we are trying to provide.”

The demolition of Wenner-Gren and two other buildings will make room for a new $100 million science facility that is scheduled to open in 2016.

Two large new dorms will take the place of Hamilton House and four current residence halls.

The proposal has met opposition from the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation, which asked UK to recognize the architectural heritage of many buildings.

Executive director Sheila Ferrell said school leaders aren’t respecting the state’s heritage.

“These historic and architecturally significant campus structures will, without any statement from President Capilouto, be demolished and replaced because the president is committed to ‘the transformation of the university’s infrastructure,’” Ferrell said. “It is not a goal the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation can respect.”

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com