The University of Kentucky Student Center turned into a demolition site this week to make room for what will be a much bigger space.
Student Center Director John Herbst said the section built in 1982 was demolished first, followed by the 1963 addition. The original ballroom and Great Hall built in 1938 will remain with interior renovations.
Herbst said saving architect Ernst Johnson's exterior design and many interior details, including wrought-iron rails and decorations made by UK engineering students in the campus forge, was very important to many people.
In the past few years, UK has torn down numerous Johnson buildings and other historic structures to make way for residence halls and academic buildings.
The $175 million project will enlarge the 220,000-square-foot space by 140,000 square feet. The opening is scheduled for January 2018.
"I know everyone is anxious for it to open," Herbst said. "But it's going to be a big building, so it's going to take some time to build."
The project architects are Perkins+Will of Atlanta, and Omni Architects of Lexington.