Rupp Arena Renovations

Although there have been pushes for Rupp Arena to remodel for years, none have actually gone into effect.  However, there has been renewed interest lately due to Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s push to create a Lexington entertainment district.

Gray asked Wildcat fans to participate in an online survey that will help determine the direction the renovation will follow. The survey was open from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8.

In addition to the survey, a public meeting was held at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom on Jan. 8 to attain more input on what fans want in the new arena.  It was timed so that fans could visit and ask questions before the Mississippi State basketball game.

Architects and city officials responded to fans’ ideas on social media sites. People responded with opinions ranging from the Wi-Fi connection to the soft serve ice-cream machines. And overall, there was a general feeling of excitement about the renovations. The fans were glad they could give some input.

“I think it is good that Rupp gave survey to the fans,” Senior Zane Hassan. “They are who the stadium is for.”

Citizenship teacher Mrs. Sharessa Crovo said, “The fans take ownership of the team, especially in Kentucky. They survey gives the fans an investment not just in men’s basketball but in all of the events that are held at Rupp.”

Ms. Crovo believes that the environment of the arena would be improved by better, more diverse food offerings and box seats for rent.

NBBJ, a global architecture firm, has been hired for the project. The company who led the original construction of Rupp Arena in 1976, Hunt Construction, has also been brought on to build the new Lexington Center. This will expand Rupp and open it up on all four sides, connecting the arena to the rest of downtown.

It is projected that the renovation will cost $310 million and Governor Steve Beshear asked the state for $65 million in bonds in his proposed budget.  The money will also go towards the relocation of the Lexington Center. The rest of the cost will be covered by local and private funds within the community, according to Beshear.

The target date to begin construction is 2015.