SBD/January 11, 2013/Facilities

UK's Commonwealth Stadium Could Get $110M Remodel Pending Approval

If the Kentucky General Assembly “approves $110 million in bonding for renovations of football facilities” at the Univ. of Kentucky, then fans and UK players by the start of the ‘15 football season “could be walking into a newly revamped Commonwealth Stadium,” according to a front-page piece by Jennifer Smith of the LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER. Improvements at Commonwealth Stadium would include “16-20 private suites, more than 2,000 new club seats, a team store, improved concessions, restrooms and security, a full-service kitchen and press facilities.” Also planned is a “spacious, multi-purpose recruiting room in the east end zone.” UK AD Mitch Barnhart said that the school for several years “has been in the discussion and feasibility phases of Commonwealth Stadium upgrades, but there is not a detailed design in place.” Barnhart said, "A lot of the renovations are going to take place to make the fan amenities better. We're competing with the 70-inch televisions at home, so we've got to make sure what we put together, [is] not only a good product on the field, but the experience when they come to the game is something people want to feel good about, and that's what this stadium will reflect." Part of that experience will include “more private suites and club-level seating.” UK President Eli Capilouto in an e-mail to Kentucky alumni and fans noted that there “is a waiting list for the new suites, which will help fund the renovations” (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 1/11). In Louisville, Joseph Gerth notes the private suites, which “can be big money-makers for a stadium, would be in the middle of the field.” Commonwealth Stadium currently has “40 suites -- 10 in each corner -- that were built in a 1999 upgrade that enclosed the end zones and boosted capacity to 67,606.” No significant change in capacity “is expected as a result of the changes announced Thursday.” If the legislation is approved, as “is expected, construction would begin later this year” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 1/11).

ANTE UP: UNLV College of Hotel Administration Dean Don Snyder on Thursday said that the school will “ask the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and Las Vegas' biggest casinos for about $125 million to help pay for a new domed football stadium on campus.” In Las Vegas, Alan Snel notes Snyder is serving as UNLV's “pointman for the project.” Snyder said the request is appropriate because the casinos and tourism businesses will be the "biggest economic beneficiaries" of the 60,000-seat venue that UNLV is calling the "megaevent center." Snyder declined to name a price for the stadium project, but said that the total cost “can't be finalized until consultants determine how high the stadium can be in light of its proximity to McCarran International Airport.” Univ. of Michigan sports economist Mark Rosentraub, who “conducted the economic impact study, estimated the stadium project at $800 million to $900 million” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 1/11).
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