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‘A place that fits the people’: $90 million project aims to transform JCTC downtown

A stone building with green plants in front, next to a road with a black pickup truck and a modern glass building with blue and yellow signage.
Jacob Munoz
JCTC leaders aim to transform the college's downtown Louisville campus through the Jefferson Rising project.

Plans to overhaul Jefferson Community and Technical College’s downtown campus include adding a new science building, parking garage and green space between First and Second Streets.

The first phase of the Jefferson Rising project would transform within three years an area that largely consists of a JCTC parking lot north of the Broadway corridor.

That phase will cost $50 million, according to JCTC President Ty Handy, who said about half of that will be funded by the college. The Statewide Capital Improvements Plan will add an additional $22 million, with the rest expected to come through ongoing private fundraising.

Handy said work is expected to begin on the parking garage this month, and construction on the new science building is slated to start in October. Once completed, that building will replace the school’s old science building, Hartford Hall Tower, which will then be demolished.

At a press conference and groundbreaking Wednesday, Handy said the investment would instill pride in students.

“We’ve come a long way in the last decade. We’ve tripled our graduate rate. We’ve improved our relationship with the local public school system… It’s just time to make sure we have a place that fits the people that come here,” Handy said.

A new science building added through Jefferson Rising would replace JCTC's old Hartford Hall Tower.
Courtesy JCTC
A new science building will replace the existing Hartford Hall Tower.

JCTC has six campuses with about 12,000 students combined, according to spokesperson Tom Lally. It’s one of the commonwealth’s largest postsecondary institutions and is part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, established through the state legislature in 1997 to improve educational achievement.

Handy said the state will cover about $50 million of the Jefferson Rising project’s $90 million price tag. The college will contribute $30 million, with other sources making up the rest.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said at Wednesday’s event that the project fits into city plans to revitalize its downtown, which has been a focus of his administration.

“I’m excited for the green that is going to be on the ground: the new grass, the new park that is going to be right here to serve everyone who is affiliated with Jefferson and anyone who comes through downtown Louisville,” Greenberg said.

Jefferson Rising's first phase would overhaul JCTC's downtown Louisville campus between First and Second Streets.
Courtesy JCTC
Jefferson Rising's first phase aims to overhaul JCTC's downtown Louisville campus between First and Second Streets.

Handy said the commons, which he touted as the largest downtown green space aside from Waterfront Park, would also include recreation opportunities such as disc golf.

Three firms are expected to work on the first phase: Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects, Omni Architects and CARMAN Landscape Architecture. Handy said they are in the final stages of planning with the state before being awarded bids.

Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.

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