Kentucky Community and Technical College System: Bluegrass Community and Technical College


The Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s (KCTCS) new Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) Newtown campus provides educational opportunities to citizens in the Lexington, Kentucky area. The Classroom Building is the first building to be constructed on the new campus for BCTC, located on the former grounds of Eastern State Hospital.


This 90,000 square foot building will support the needs of general purpose higher education by incorporating space for computer labs, lecture classrooms, learning commons, science lab, film production studio, faculty and support offices, student services, and a One-Stop center and admissions offices. It will allow BCTC to provide additional programs and services to meet the growing postsecondary education needs of the community, particularly those in high-demand, high-wage jobs. These types of programs are critical to transforming both the economy for the state of KY and the City of Lexington. Construction began in March 2011 and completion is on target to allow for classes in the Fall of 2013.

A 20-year masterplan for the 43-acre site includes renovating historically significant existing structures for adaptive reuse and construction of nearly a dozen new buildings.



Major energy efficiency measures for the project include: high efficiency chillers/ heat recovery (to save 42%), high efficiency T-8 lights (to save 28%), and high efficiency fans (to save 24%). An additional 6% will be saved from miscellaneous items, such as a reflective roof also will assist in energy efficiency.


Additional details on solutions implemented at the Bluegrass Community & Technical College Classroom Building include the following:

  • Chiller efficiency is over a code-compliant system.
  • A heat recovery chiller was added to provide hot water for reheating.
  • Chillers are wired to the network to provide another detection tool to identify when the system is out of sync.
  • Air handlers are self-recalibrating.
  • External doors are wired to sensors that set-off an alarm if a door remains open more than a few minutes.
  • Infrared motion detectors in classrooms shutoff lighting after 10 minutes of inactivity. The same detector shuts ventilation off after an hour of inactivity.
  • Lights have sensors to take into account natural lighting, dimming or brightening to maintain a constant foot candle. ENERGY STAR appliances were purchased for break rooms.
  • Infrared imaging was completed during building construction to determine leaks in the building envelope.
  • Building envelope commissioning was conducted and every window tested when construction was complete. Leaks were stopped, resulting in a tight building envelope.

Initiated by the University of Kentucky in 2001 for planning and design, the Bluegrass Community and Technical College Newtown Campus Classroom Building is a state bond funded project. An “innovative partnership” between KCTCS, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and the University of Kentucky, the building results from three strings coming together at just the right time. Until 2004, Bluegrass Community and Technical College was under the umbrella of the University of Kentucky, and as such, its main campus emerged on the university’s campus. Landlocked with burgeoning enrollment, the college needed additional space to accommodate its students, and the University of Kentucky needed the space currently occupied by Bluegrass to accommodate its campus master plan, and a new inpatient mental health facility was needed.

To meet the needs of the three entities, a deal involving the city, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, the University of Kentucky, and the state allowed for a land swap and the building of a new inpatient mental health facility. As part of the deal, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, will take over the state property occupied by the current inpatient mental health facility for its Newtown Campus. Bluegrass Community and Technical College space on Cooper Drive on UK's Campus will revert back to ownership of the University of Kentucky. The City of Lexington provided the initial bonding capacity to begin construction of the new inpatient mental health facility, which was constructed on property provided by the University in its Coldstream Research Park and opened September 10, 2013.



The Classroom Building was designed to exceed Kentucky’s current State High Performance Building Standards. Initially the design was striving for a LEED Silver rating, but thanks to additional achievements under the Energy and Atmosphere section, KCTCS is pursuing LEED certification at the Gold level.


Annual Energy Use

(Source EUI)
Baseline (ASHRAE Standard)
283 kBtu/sq. ft.
Actual (2014)
145 kBtu/sq. ft.

Energy Savings:


Annual Energy Cost

Baseline (ASHRAE Standard)
Actual (2014)

Cost Savings:


Sector Type



Lexington, Kentucky

Project Size

90,000 Square Feet

Financial Overview

Project Cost $25 Million

Bluegrass Community & Technical Collage exterior view
Bluegrass Community & Technical Collage exterior view

High efficiency chiller
High efficiency chiller

Self calibrating air handler
Self calibrating air handler

BCTC Lobby
BCTC Lobby