Lexington mayor Jim Gray announced on Monday afternoon that the University of Kentucky and “partners” will be spending $310 million to give Rupp Arena a modernizing facelift.
Rupp is one of college basketball’s most storied venues, but as we are in the midst of the college athletics “Arms Race”, it’s no surprise that the school decided that they would need an upgrade on their arena.
“In essence, the goal is to make Rupp a prototype for modern sports venues,” according to the NBBJ release. “The lower levels will be re-clad in a highly-transparent glass skin reaching as high as 40 feet above the ground. A newly expanded main concourse will wrap around the bowl and have views to the city, while the fan experience in the bowl will be revealed with direct views from the concourse.”
Rupp is actually located next the Lexington Convention Center, which will also be undergoing renovations. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, it could begin as soon as 2015 and end as early as 2017.
The man in charge of doing the renovations is the same architect that updated UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, but unlike that remodel, Kentucky will reportedly not miss any home games as a result of construction.
There will be a number of cool features added to the exterior, including transparent outer walls, a catwalk from campus to the arena and HD screens outside the arena itself. The interior will feature a couple of changes as well, including a change in how steep the upperdeck is and the inclusion of some luxury seating.
Here are some images sent out by NBBJ of the proposed changes: