SBD/January 9, 2014/Facilities

Rupp Arena Upgrades To Improve Fan Experience With New Suites, Scoreboard

Rupp Arena's new luxury boxes won't change the venue's total capacity
More than 60 people last night attended a public meeting in Lexington, Ky., to "hear more about the preliminary designs for a newly redesigned Rupp Arena and convention center," according to a front-page piece by Beth Musgrave of the LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER. Seattle-based architectural firm NBBJ Partner Robert Mankin "gave people an overview of some of the changes." Rupp Arena "will be 'freed' from the current design so it can be seen." Currently, the arena "can only be seen from" the back of the complex. Despite the changes, Mankin said that the "large, two-tiered bowl" of the arena will "remain largely the same." The upper deck will "get chair-back seats, improved lighting and its own concessions and restrooms." Mankin said that bathrooms "will be improved, and there will be more of them." The overall number of seats "will remain the same, but there will be hospitality or luxury boxes." Project consultant Jay Isaac said that planners are "still working out exactly what those luxury seats will look like." Mankin said that a "new center scoreboard and a strip of lights around the center of the stadium will also enhance the fan experience," and that there will be a "new audio system and better WiFi." Construction will take place in phases, and Isaac said that UK will "continue to play" in Rupp Arena during the renovations. Musgrave notes previously mentioned cost projections have "put the convention center rebuild" at $110M, with the Rupp Arena renovation costing $140-150M. But those figures "could change" (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 1/9).

ROCK CHALK: In Kansas, Gary Bedore reports a proposed $17.5M apartment complex would "house up to 32 Kansas University men’s and women’s basketball players as well as 34 other students." The project will be funded "through a combination of private funds and bond proceeds, the bonds to be paid for by revenue generated by the apartments." Other schools, including Kentucky, have recently "upgraded living quarters for athletes." A dormitory for UK basketball players, which opened in '12, cost $7M to build "and was privately funded" (LAWRENCE JOURNAL-WORLD, 1/9). In K.C., Rustin Dodd writes the KU apartment complex is "another investment designed to keep its basketball program among the nation's best, specifically in the area of recruiting" (K.C. STAR, 1/9).
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