Lexmark donation to help renovate former library

LexMark donates $1 million to help fund renovation

ssloan@herald-leader.comMarch 30, 2011 

The former Northside Public Library, now owned by the University of Kentucky, will soon be home to a science and math outreach center to help educate teachers in Kentucky. The building is on Russell Cave Road next to the new library.

  • UK picks Ricoh over Lexmark as print services vendor

  • UK picks Ricoh over Lexmark as print services vendor

    The University of Kentucky earlier this year replaced Lexington's Lexmark International as its main printer vendor.

    In February, the competitively bid six-year contract went to Ricoh for managed print services, in which printer companies manage fleets of printers and the required ink and toner for companies.

    UK spokesman Jay Blanton said the university spends about $8.5 million annually on printing services and expects to save $2 million yearly under the new contract. He added that departments will be able to choose to buy Lexmark printers under the contract if that's what they prefer.

    "This was a competitively bid contract process, and that's the way business should be and is conducted," he said. "That doesn't take anything away from the great community partner that Lexmark is."

    Ed Crowley, founder of Midway-based printer-industry research firm Photizo Group, wrote in a recent research note that "this is a significant account in terms of revenue, but it may actually be as important due to the value of winning bragging rights for a key account in Lexmark's back yard."

    Crowley said Tuesday that UK was likely enticed by the major scale of Ricoh's operations.

    "By our best estimates, they have well over twice the managed print services business in North America that Lexmark has ...," he said, noting Ricoh recently announced it would invest $300 million in the field over the next few years. "To Lexmark's credit, they've been investing, but they just can't keep up with that level."

    Lexmark spokesman Jerry Grasso noted that 12 of the Fortune 50 companies are customers of Lexmark's managed print services, including eight of the 10 top retailers in the United States.

    "We compete as aggressively as any of our major competitors, and I would argue, more successfully, than one single contract could communicate, whether in Kentucky or located anywhere else globally," Grasso said.

    Scott Sloan

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.

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