Consulting Engineering

UK Student Center

University of KentuckyLexington, Kentucky

CMTA was originally hired to perform a feasibility study to analyze the existing infrastructure of the 220,000 square foot Student Center at the University of Kentucky. After feasibility studies, the University pursued a replacement/renovation project with CMTA, creating a 370,000 square foot project where only a portion of the 1938 building remains.

The original gymnasium that Adolf Rupp would coach in became a one-of-a-kind fitness center for the northern campus, while the original student center was retained for the grand ballrooms. The rest of the student center was reimagined as a high-tech space that caters to the needs of students. This includes a new cinema, blue box theatre, student government chambers, Barnes and Noble bookstore, and the largest food service facility on campus.

Major site infrastructure requirements were involved to construct this facility. This included new steam and chilled water services, as well as domestic water and fire services. Extensive modifications were also required for the high voltage electrical systems and communication systems. 

All new HVAC systems were installed for this project. With CMTA’s focus on improving the energy efficiency of the building, these units were all VAV systems. New chilled water pumps and a new steam pressure reducing valve station were installed in the facility as well.

In addition to the mechanical infrastructure improvements, the electrical systems also needed replacing. New indoor sub-stations, switchboards, and panelboards were provided, along with all new branch circuiting. A new indoor, 2,000 kW diesel generator is provided for back-up power.

Lighting is 100% LED and controlled by a web-based, addressable lighting control system that includes daylight dimming and vacancy sensors. The ballrooms and black-box theatre have theatrical lighting control systems with theatrical LED fixtures.

New state-of-the-art sound systems were included in the ballrooms, black-box theatre and digital cinema. For the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors, a mass notification system, video surveillance system and access control system were installed throughout the facility. Digital signage, video walls and Wi-Fi technology were provided throughout as well.

Through CMTA's collaborative First 30 design approach, we were able to achieve a 30% reduction in energy usage.

This is a remarkable tribute to students past, present and future. It celebrates the unique community and culture building experiences that will take place in this grand venue. I believe it will stand out for many years as a pinnacle student center experience among the finest in North America.

John Herbst, Executive Director of the Gatton Student Center

University of Kentucky