According to The Lexington Herald-Leader, that city’s Urban County Council is expected to give a thumbs-up to a pair of measures today that would allow Lexington to receive $2.5 million in state money to begin the planning and design phase of the current Rupp Arena complex.
Opened in 1976, Rupp lacks some of the modern amenities — meaning luxury suites — that more modern facilities enjoy. Knowing the value of suites for Wildcat basketball, University of Kentucky officials had hoped for a new arena altogether. Instead, the city has decided to go the renovation route which would improve the basketball arena, move part of the connected convention center, and improve entertainment and retail venues around the site. All told the price could go as high as $350 million.
According to plans developed by an architect in 2011, the upper arena would be: “renovated almost in total, including replacement of all the bench seats with chair seats. The concourse becomes the location for suites and loge seating.”
The trick for UK is to add enough suites to make huge coin — and the school would definitely do that — without taking away too many “everyman” seats that are currently filled by a rabid Kentucky hoops fanbase.