Construction Starts On $241M Renovation Of Rupp Arena
Construction is finally getting started on the $241M renovation of Rupp Arena and expansion of the adjacent Lexington Convention Center. The renovations will reduce capacity at the arena by approximately 2,000 seats, from 23,500 down to 21,500, said Andrzej Czech, an architect with NBBJ. The architecture firm is handling designs for the project. Seat backs are being installed in upper deck areas that are now bench bleacher seats and that will cut down on capacity, Czech said. The convention center owns the arena home to Kentucky basketball. Czech said the convention center will go from 66,000 square feet of exhibit space to 100,000 square feet. A new arena exterior, a new park outside the arena and convention center and four new club suites are also part of the plans, which have changed from previous proposals. Czech said Rupp Arena currently just has some meeting rooms that are hastily converted into premium areas. Four new club suites -- including ones focused on big UK donors and boosters -- will be built out. They will be able to accommodate between 300-2,000 people, depending on the suite. Czech said the aim is to offer premium but also flexible space that can also be used on non game days. Construction is scheduled to be completed in '21.