The UK Athletic Association passed its operating budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year Thursday, which will include $1.95 million dollars in upgrades to Commonwealth Stadium.
The total operating budget passed was $83.6 million, which is around the middle of the pack among Southeastern Conference schools.
The Commonwealth Stadium upgrades, passed at Thursday’s UKAA board meeting, will include $1.65 million spent on new endzone scoreboards, $150,000 on “concrete/structural repair” and $150,000 on steel painting around the stadium.
The bid process for the scoreboards is ongoing but Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said the process should be finalized and papers signed “today or tomorrow.” Because the bid process is not yet finished, it was unclear whether the scoreboard project would include ribbon boards around the upper-deck facade.
“A lot of it depends on the numbers we get back,” Barnhart said. “We’ve got some preliminary numbers and we should have those today or tomorrow and then we’ll be able to make some directions on what direction we go. But the ribbon boards are something I would like to have. What that means to the Hall of Fame ring (around the upper deck), we’ll figure that out. We’ll make sure we honor that the right way if we move those. But I want to make sure we have the opportunity to use those ribbon boards if we can. Those are great fan amenities.”
The UK Board of Trustees approved spending of $6.25 million on new Commonwealth Stadium scoreboards earlier this month. Barnhart said Thursday that the project has not been scaled back, despite the new figure at $1.65 million.
“The unique thing about the system in this state is you have to ask for spending ahead of time. So everybody knows what the number is,” Barnhart said. “So you show me a bid process, if you know what the number is, it’s going to bring you a bid less than that. It’s not overly intelligent in terms of our ability to get the best price. So we’ve got to be able to manage that in the proper fashion but the project itself is right on line with where we thought it would be.”
If all goes as planned, the old end zone scoreboards would be ripped down sometime in mid- to late June and the new scoreboards would be installed immediately. “If there’s something coming down, something better be coming up,” Barnhart said.
Other facility upgrades passed Thursday include:
-$300,000: Video board at UK Softball Complex
-$950,000: Renovations at Shively Sports Center, where most UK olympic sports train
-$100,000: Cosmetic upgrades to CATS Center, the athletic department’s tutoring center
-$1.1 million: Overhaul of track and field center, which has already begun
Barnhart also said a feasibility study exploring the idea of new stadia for football, baseball and softball should reach Barnhart’s desk within the next “25 or 30 days.”