Nippert Stadium Upgrades Considered Crucial To Univ. Of Cincinnati's Athletics Success
The Univ. of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium renovation has "long been considered crucial to UC’s success not only in football, but in the entire athletics program," and when the school was "left out of the five major conferences in the most recent wave of realignment, the project assumed greater urgency," according to Bill Koch of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. AD Whit Babcock had to "decide if the Bearcats would be better off financially by moving their games downtown to Paul Brown Stadium rather than spending the money to renovate Nippert." Babcock said, "We did surveys and while people liked going to Paul Brown here and there it was overwhelming in favor of Nippert Stadium. The financial piece of moving downtown was not a long-term solution. Playing in a 35,000-seat stadium, even without the renovation, was more financially viable than moving downtown.” Babcock said that the school has "determined that the new seating will generate enough money to pay off the annual debt and to generate a profit beyond that." The new pavilion will have "three levels -- a club level, a suite level and a press level that will also include suites and coaches boxes." Naming rights will be "sold for each level." UC already has "commitments for the suites and loge boxes, but has yet to begin its push to sell approximately 1,500 club seats." The new construction also will include "patio suites -- outdoor loge boxes with four or eight seats." The east side of the stadium will "not receive premium seating, but will undergo a facelift in an attempt to improve the fan experience." There also are "no plans to replace the existing bleacher seats with chair back seats," but Babcock said that he would "not rule that out in the future" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 7/23).
FEELING BLUE: In Lexington, Jennifer Smith wrote the Univ. of Kentucky's Commonwealth Stadium renovation is "starting to take shape." UK has signed "formal deals with an architectural firm and a construction manager and has rough drawings in place" for the $110M renovation of the stadium and other football facilities. The project is "scheduled in several phases, outlined in the construction manager's proposal, with completion planned before the start" of the '15 football season. The formal model "probably will be unveiled in October." UK has "signed a contract worth $5,895,580 with Skanska/Congleton-Hacker, the same company that completed the recent Rupp Arena locker room renovation." The contract calls for "'substantial completion' to take place by Aug. 14, 2015, and a final completion date for 30 calendar days after that." There are built-in safeguards in the contract for UK "should the company fail to meet those completion dates." The construction manager's preliminary schedule shows that phase one is to "take place from" Sept. 1 of this year to December '14 (KENTUCKY.com, 7/23).