The University of Kentucky will build an $18.6 million building to house high-technology research

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 8, 2008) - The University of Kentucky will build an $18.6 million building to house high-technology research on visualization, computer science and electrical and computer engineering as part of a "Digital Village" complex in the Maxwell Street-Rose Street vicinity.

UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. announced the project, which will be funded through $9.3 million from private donors, with the remainder coming from the state's Research Challenge Trust Fund.

"When we released our Top 20 Business Plan, we made clear that we would fund 40 percent of the plan ourselves," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. "Today, we are pleased to show the Commonwealth that we are intent on keeping that promise. Thanks to generous private support from three great friends of the University, UK is proud to announce its first building to be constructed solely from private donations and the Bucks for Brains matching program.

"It is quite appropriate that such innovative financing will be used to build the second phase of the College of Engineering's Digital Village. The Digital Village will be UK's high-tech hub, a center of innovation, creativity and discovery that will be crucial to helping Kentucky create a thriving, knowledge-based economy," Todd added.

The Marksbury Family Foundation, created recently by Davis and Beverly Marksbury, is contributing $6 million for the project, which will be named the Davis Marksbury Building, pending approval by UK's Board of Trustees.

The Davis Marksbury Building, Phase 2 of UK's Digital Village, will provide nearly 25,000 square feet of space for research activity conducted by faculty in the UK Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science, all of which are part of the UK College of Engineering.

The funding will cover the costs of design, construction, furnishing and landscaping the Davis Marksbury Building. The cost of maintenance and operation will be absorbed by UK.

Thomas W. Lester, dean of the UK College of Engineering, said, "The vision and generosity of Davis and Beverly Marksbury help position the University of Kentucky and the College of Engineering at the forefront of research facilities and opportunities necessary to attract and retain Top 20 caliber faculty and students in STEM disciplines."

As envisioned by Todd, the UK Digital Village will be comprised of four buildings dedicated to high-tech research when it is complete. No funding is available as yet for Phases 3 and 4 of the complex.

Todd's vision calls for the UK Digital Village to be an integral part of UK's town-gown corridor intended to break down any perceived barriers separating the campus from the city.

Groundbreaking will be held during September 2009, and the project is expected to be complete in January 2011. In other support, $2 million is being given by James F. Hardymon, a longtime UK supporter, a member of the UK Board of Trustees and the primary donor in support of the Hardymon Building, which was Phase 1 of the UK Digital Village. The Hardymon Building houses research in advanced computer and communications networking and other high-tech research.

James McDonald, president and CEO of Scientific Atlanta, is giving $328,000 to support the project. Another $1 million is being sought from a private donor.