UK Breaks Ground for 'Green' Marksbury Digital Village Building

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2009) − University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. and lead donor Davis Marksbury today presided over groundbreaking ceremonies for a new $18.6 million building to house the second phase of the university's high-tech "Digital Village" concept.

Todd and Marksbury, a leading donor in a project primarily supported through private donations and a 1980 civil engineering alumnus, were joined by UK College of Engineering Dean Thomas Lester, Secretary of the Governor's Executive Cabinet Mary Lassiter and Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry in a ceremony at the building site on Rose Street near the UK James F. Hardymon Building, which is also part of the Digital Village.

"This is a historic moment for the University of Kentucky," said Todd. "Not only will the Davis Marksbury Building provide UK with world-class research and teaching space, it is the first capital construction project to be constructed solely with private support and matching funds from the state's Research Challenge Trust Fund."

Lester said, "This newest academic facility will provide current and future UK engineering and computer science students classrooms, laboratories and research facilities that will equal or surpass anything offered by any other university in the nation."

The three-story, 45,014-gross-square-foot building, to be named the Davis Marksbury Building, will house the UK Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science. All are part of the UK College of Engineering.

The building also will be UK's first to receive certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

"Given the College of Engineering’s role as a leader in advancing environmental-related research in efficient energy production, air and water purification and other 'green' engineering endeavors, it is extremely appropriate that the first LEED certified building on UK’s campus be dedicated to engineering and computer science," Lester said.

The building's roof will include photovoltaic collectors to convert sunlight into electrical power to help serve the building and provide research opportunities.

The building will also comply with requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding accessibility for physically challenged persons.

The first floor will house an administrative suite, a presentation/multipurpose room that seats up to 100, a visualization lounge and media suite and a computer lab. The second and third floors house hard and soft laboratories for computer-program development and research, as well as faculty offices.

The third floor also houses a penthouse that contains air-handling equipment for the building.

The building's basement consists primarily of mechanical and electrical equipment rooms but also includes a central computer server room. An emergency generator also will be situated in the basement.

The project is expected to be completed in early 2011.

Funding for the project was announced last December, after the Marksbury Family Foundation, created by Davis and Beverly Marksbury, contributed $6 million. Another $3.6 million was provided by private donors, with the remaining $9.3 million coming from the state's Research Challenge Trust Fund.

The funding covers the costs of design, construction, furnishing and landscaping the building. Costs of maintenance and operation will be absorbed by UK.

Follow the construction live at