“I describe it as our front porch to the community,” says Melody J. Flowers, UK’s Executive Director for Strategic Analysis & Policy.
The Cornerstone developed for parking, but emerged as a gateway to innovation, linking the university with the community of Lexington. The new development incorporates an innovation lab, a gaming lounge and food hall.
The innovation lab features collaborative working environments and high end technology to support remote distance learning. Flowers jokes it’s like “Zoom and collaborative white boards together on steroids.” Garage style doors within the innovation lab open onto Winslow Street, transforming the indoor space into an outdoor one.
The gamers’ lounge includes 50 PC gaming stations and three console gaming areas, along with a 100-seat multi-use theater that can host 6v6 esports tournaments, classes, presentations and more.
With The Cornerstone’s goal to be a multifunctional space, the gamers’ lounge serves as a classroom for courses like game development, game theory, and game design when it’s not in use as a pay-to-play lounge.
The new development offers 900 additional parking spaces that connect with the pre-existing spaces, totaling about 2400 parking spots in that garage.
In January, the rest of the food hall in The Cornerstone opens. Cup of Commonwealth opened in November, but other vendors to join include Ethereal Brewing, Rolling Oven Pizza, Miyako Poke Bowl, and a new ice cream and juice concept from Tomo Sushi.
What might be most distinctive to The Cornerstone is its 55-foot-tall exterior digital wall, which is the first of its kind in Lexington. UK is seeking artwork for the digital wall based on two themes—Black Lives in the Bluegrass and Kentucky Confronting COVID-19.
The Cornerstone appears in A Look Back at 2020 on page 11 of the December 2020 print edition of ace magazine.
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