Rupp Arena makeover: chair-back seats, new center-hanging scoreboard
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Rupp Arena's latest proposed makeover will make it a stand-alone facility that state and local officials hope will reinvent downtown.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Mayor Jim Gray and officials from Lexington Center on Wednesday announced a renovation plan that will separate the 37-year-old home of Kentucky men's basketball from the adjoining convention center, which will be expanded 100,000 square feet. Lexington Center Board chairman Brent Rice said a funding plan will be finalized within 45 days.
Rupp's 23,500-seat capacity will remain but adds chair-back seats to the upper deck, expanded concourses and a new center-hanging scoreboard.
Lexington city spokesman Susan Straub confirmed that the Rupp Arena makeover will be handled by Hunt Construction Group, an Indianapolis firm that expanded Louisville's football stadium. Hunt's web site lists Papa John's Cardinal Stadium among venues it has built. The firm added 10,500 upper deck seats, sheltered loge seats and 33 suites to the 15-year-old facility, expanding capacity to 55,000 in 2010.
Seattle-based NBBJ, which revamped UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, is the architectural firm.
The project is expected to take two years to complete with groundbreaking scheduled for fall 2014.