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The Kirwan and Blanding Towers are finally coming down (for real this time)

Photo: @UniversityofKentucky

Photo: @UniversityofKentucky

After sitting vacant for four years, UK’s iconic Kirwan and Blanding dormitory towers are finally coming down.

Today, UK announced that demolition of the complex will begin in early 2020 pending approval from the Board of Trustees. Demolition is expected to cost $15 million ($10 million from an internal loan, $5 million from private funding), which pales in comparison to the $126 million estimate to renovate the buildings to modern standards. UK has had the plan in the works for two years, but finding funding has been challenging and demo can’t begin until the completion of an $8.5 million project to reroute the underground utility tunnels that lie directly beneath the complex.

The two 23-story towers and eight surrounding low-rise buildings were built in the 1960s and sit on 14 acres. A map of the area, per the Herald-Leader:

Once the complex is demolished — which could take 12-15 months — UK will use the area for a new 500-bed dormitory and large green space. If approved, the goal is to have the dormitory ready for the 2022-23 school year.

While it would be very cool to see the towers implode, UK is looking at other alternatives to avoid blasting on campus. A few months ago, someone shared pictures from inside the vacant buildings on Twitter:

Feel free to share your favorite Kirwan Blanding memories below.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

7 Comments for The Kirwan and Blanding Towers are finally coming down (for real this time)

  1. kentuckybackupplayer
    4:19 pm December 6, 2019 Permalink

    I thought we were going to bring them down when I lived in Kirwan back in the 80’s, partied pretty hard in there!!

  2. zoupman
    5:16 pm December 6, 2019 Permalink

    I’m glad they are leaving some green space.

  3. CatManDo
    6:11 am December 7, 2019 Permalink

    The Commons grill had the best burger, awesome waffles at K-Lair when I lived at the Zoo.
    To this day when I hear “Living on a prayer “, I sing “Living on K-Lair”. I don’t get out much.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      9:16 am December 7, 2019 Permalink


    • GoCatz
      10:25 am December 7, 2019 Permalink

      I was at Haggin Hall my freshman year and my room was almost directly about K-Lair…I wore that place out. LOVED the Sunday breakfast – brunch at the commons!!