Bulldozers are still roaring around the new campus of Bluegrass Community and Technical College on Newtown Pike, but classes are underway inside the school's first new building.
The $20 million building opened this fall, and students in business, information technology, biotechnology and film studies are hard at work. It features a mock server room for IT students, modern biotech labs, a film studio and editing lab, and a rooftop garden.
Other classes are still held at the community college's Cooper Drive campus, but much of BCTC's operations will move to the corner of Newtown and Fourth Street during the next few years. The technical college's campus on Lees town Road will remain there for the foreseeable future, BCTC officials said.
The new building is the flagship of BCTC's spacious new campus, which will transform the former home of Eastern State Hospital with a mix of new construction and renovation. Eastern State recently opened a $129 million facility a few miles down the road at UK's Coldstream Research Campus.
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The original Eastern State was built in 1824, and some of that history will be saved by BCTC.
The administration building, a red-brick edifice with tall white columns, will become the BCTC administration building. The 1908 laundry, a cruciform building with an elevated roof, is slated to become a café or student center, once $4 million can be raised for its renovation.
BCTC officials also want to save many old trees, especially in the parklike setting on the Fourth Street side of the campus. Designers have planned a winding path that will be lined with bricks sponsored by donors, said Mark Manuel, vice president for workforce and development at BCTC.
The school is among several new developments in the area. Further along Fourth Street, Transylvania University recently opened new playing fields, and Manuel said developers are talking about new restaurants and possible housing along Newtown Pike.
"This is already changing the community," he said.
For more information on sponsoring a brick at BCTC's new campus, go to Bluegrass.kctcs.edu/giving.