SBD/July 11, 2013/Facilities

NBBJ, Hunt Construction Handling Rupp Arena Renovation; Conceptual Drawings By October

Rupp Arena's renovation could be completed within two years
The Lexington Center Corporation (LCC) BOD yesterday named Seattle-based architectural firm NBBJ to "design the Rupp Arena renovation, as well as the new Lexington Convention Center," according to a front-page piece by Tipton & Warren of the LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER. The BOD also picked Indianapolis-based Hunt Construction, "the company that completed Rupp Arena back in 1976," to perform the actual renovation work. Lexington-based Able Construction and Indianapolis-based Finch Constructors "will assist Hunt." Rupp District Project Dir Frank Butler said that officials "hope to have conceptual drawings of the project by early October." Initial "schematic plans and cost estimates are expected by Nov. 1." Previous cost projections have "put the convention center rebuild at $110 million, with the Rupp renovation costing" $140-150M. While Univ. of Kentucky officials have "pledged to be partners in the Rupp renovation, they have contended that state dollars for campus construction should take precedence over Rupp." Groundbreaking ceremonies are "scheduled for the fall of 2014, if advance work goes smoothly." LCC BOD Chair Brent Rice yesterday said that the project could "be built in two years, without disrupting ball games or other events." NBBJ also designed the $136M renovation of UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. The LCC noted how a "'revitalized' Rupp will have private suites, a new scoreboard hanging above center court, and chair-back seats throughout the upper as well as lower levels." As for fundraising, CSL Int'l President Bill Rhoda said that his company has "studied the number of suites, loge boxes and clubs that could go inside the arena" (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 7/11).

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: In Louisville, John Karman reported a financing plan for the redevelopment of Rupp Arena and the Lexington Convention Center "should be released in 30 to 45 days." Rice said that 14 possible "revenue sources currently are being studied, including the sale of Rupp naming rights." A request for proposals was "issued July 1, seeking naming rights for the Lexington Convention Center." Rice said that the financing plan is "expected to include city and state participation" (, 7/10).
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