Lexington's former Northside Public Library is in for a makeover, courtesy of a donation announced by Lexmark International on Tuesday as part of its 20th anniversary celebration.
Lexmark plans to donate up to $1 million to the library's new owner, the University of Kentucky, to establish a center to train math and science educators around the state.
The donation was the highlight of an announcement of nearly $1.7 million of charitable giving, all of which focused on education, particularly science, technology, engineering and math.
UK Provost Kumble Subbaswamy joined Lexmark officials at their Lexington headquarters, saying the former library location will be convenient for teachers and will be used for ecological research by UK personnel.
UK bought the facility for $1.2 million in July 2008 from the Lexington Public Library, which used the money to help construct the new Northside library next door.
"We're quite happy that the location is going to continue to be used for educational purposes since that is what we used it for," said Ann Hammond, executive director of the Lexington Public Library system.
UK also owns the property behind the facility, the former McCullough dairy farm that was donated to UK. That land has been used to study how native wildlife integrates into an urban environment.
UK expects to spend $2 million to renovate the former library, which is now empty, said spokesman Jay Blanton.
"It's pretty open space that will need some fairly significant renovation work," he said, noting work will start in August and is expected to be complete by August 2012.
Reach Scott Sloan at (859) 231-1447 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 1447.