Last night we posted the pictures of the proposes designs for a renovated Rupp Arena, but we didn’t have any details. The Herald Leader has more information on what those involved hope will become a building with the “power of an icon”. Here are some of the biggest changes:
– Rupp Arena seating would increase slightly with the renovation. Metal bleachers would be replaced by chair-back seats. There would be wider concourses and more restrooms. (Architectural Consultant Gary) Bates said there would be some premium boxes, but he did not give a specific number.
– Fans would enter the arena from the Main Street side into a large lobby with space to mingle before and after games. Two large blue escalators would take them to the second-floor concourse to enter the arena.
– Large video screens would be mounted so people outside the arena could see the game, “increasing the sense of inclusion,” Bates said. “If you don’t have a ticket, if you’re not one of the lucky few, you can still be part of the experience. You can still join in pre-game events. You can still be outside and watch on large screens.” The transparency of the walls “increases the fan base, the sense of pride, a sense of belonging,” Bates said.
– Throughout the arena would be state-of-the-art sound and video systems, including a drop-down scoreboard suspended over the basketball floor.
– To visually and psychologically connect the University of Kentucky campus more closely with the arena, a request by the university’s athletics department, Bates proposed a Catwalk, basically a procession route from campus to Rupp that would go from Euclid Avenue down South Limestone to Maxwell Street, then west on Maxwell to the High Street parking lot in front of Lexington Center. It would cut through a parking lot to the arena.
The reinvented Rupp and new convention center carry a price tag of about $260 million.