University of Kentucky Facility Takes Direct Hit from Massive Tornado

The University of Kentucky’ Research and Education Center was directly hit by the December 11 tornado, but staff has found ways to continue to serve.

University of Kentucky Facility Takes Direct Hit from Massive Tornado

The UKREC was destroyed by the massive tornado that struck the region December 11. Photo via UK

Lexington, Kentucky – The University of Kentucky Research and Education Center (UKREC) in Princeton took a direct hit from the powerful tornado that began in northwestern Arkansas and carved a path of destruction across the western half of Kentucky on December 11. The physical structure that housed UKREC was leveled.

UKREC employees, led by director Carrie Knott, worked through the weekend, securing and caring for animals, assessing damage and offering support. Due to the amount of debris from the storm, officials ask that the public stay away from the center as the area is unsafe and structurally unsound.

While the physical structure that housed the UKREC is gone, two temporary office buildings and two temporary storage buildings will be placed on-site on Tuesday for UKREC personnel.

“The center is the home to a group of very dedicated UK employees, and I commend Dr. Knott and her staff for their heroic weekend recovery efforts,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and UK vice president for land-grant engagement. “While the center won’t be the same for some time, the college is committed to helping our employees and communities recover from these devastating events and serving the Western Kentucky agricultural community.”

Numerous counties are dealing with the aftermath of the destructive tornadoes. The UK Cooperative Extension Service is diligently working with area organizations to meet the needs of tornado victims.

Extension has partnered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to offer support for affected farmers. Those who wish to donate farm supplies should contact their local extension office. Extension agents will deliver products to the KDA for distribution to farm organizations working to meet the needs of impacted farmers.

Kentucky 4-H has a 4-H’ers Helping 4-H’ers Relief Fund that is collecting donations to help affected 4-H members, families and staff. 

The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management is also accepting donations and relief effort volunteer applications. Individuals can offer to donate supplies or apply to volunteer at

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has partnered with the Kentucky Farm Bureau to develop a GoFundMe account at to provide monetary support for affected farmers. Donations are tax deductible.  

Individuals, who wish to make monetary donations to the tornado victims, may do so by donating through UK’s Office of Philanthropy at Individuals may donate to help affected UK students at UK also offers the C.R.I.S.I.S. (Crisis Relief in Situations Involving Staff and Faculty) Program to help UK employees experiencing personal hardship. UK faculty and staff may request assistance at

Individuals may also mail checks with a comment to support UK CAFE Tornado Relief to UK Philanthropy, P.O. Box 23552, Lexington, KY 40523.

Additional photos of UKREC’s tornado damage can be seen here.

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