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Lexington committee OKs design for Rupp renovation

  • A committee appointed to re-imagine Rupp Arena and a new downtown arts and entertainment district voted unanimously Saturday to renovate Rupp, approving a design that would strip the arena's industrial siding and replace it with a glass and translucent covering.

    Lexington committee OKs design for Rupp renov

    A committee appointed to re-imagine Rupp Arena and a new downtown arts and entertainment district voted unanimously Saturday to renovate Rupp, approving a design that would strip the arenas industrial siding and replace it with a glass and translucent covering.

    http://www.kentucky.com/2011/12/17/1997718/lexington-committee-oks-design.html
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  • Bates' plan approved Saturday envisions a number of far-reaching changes:

     Rupp Arena seating would increase slightly through the renovation. Metal bleachers would be replaced by chair-back seats. There would be wider concourses and more rest rooms. 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 the Lexington Center. It would cut through a parking lot to the arena.

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  • Sweet!!!!!!

    Ribbon boards? Wondering if those are in the works also......

    Go 'Cats!

    "They had it before you, they had it during you, they'll have it when you're gone"...." - Al McGuire on Kentucky Basketball Tradition

  • I know most people just want their UK basketball game experience to be better and be proud of their home court, but this is another money grab by LCC that does not improve UK's product as much as it does theirs.

    Some points brought up in conversations from September about the new arena vs renovation/rebuilding of Rupp, and some addressing comments about this deal:

    The propaganda word is that this will help downtown by 1) getting concerts back to Rupp, 2) get more money pumped into downtown, 3) enhance the game experience for UK fans, and 4) add revenue and perception for UK by adding boxes and such.

    Counter 1) The reason why Lexington doesn't get as many concerts as it used to is that there are cities 100 miles to the north and west that have a bigger population base to draw from and some actual nightlife surrounding their arenas. Other than Taylor Swift and the like, Rupp won't pack the house for concerts by looking better outside. It's doubtful it will affect attendance for them significantly by RErenovating the inside.

    Counter 2) The arts and entertainment district isn't significantly addressed in this. It is merely mentioned to drum up support and try to head off opposition in advance from those that would want this money to go to more public rather than private projects.

    It's Lexington's ultra-conservative and tight-fisted approach to the idea of bars and entertainment that is keeping downtown from making money and attracting people. There's simply not enough to do and it's too spread out. There's also the issue of established businesses that would lose out if a separate entertainment district is setup in the old Distillery District. It's great for those already there and who own the properties there, but not for those who'd have to relocate to benefit.

    Counter 3) On a small scale, this will enhance the experience for some UK fans by giving them better seating up top, but that's a much smaller portion of the budget as well as one they could have addresses last time they renovated, (but didn't care to at the time). It's a nice gesture now to generate support. If there are the inevitable overruns, this will likely be what's sacrificed.

    Pride will be increased. This is a pretty plan that will make Rupp look better, so that will be a source of pride for some. I don't think the boards outside will be that beneficial, but as a geek, they'll look awesome. As I'm not driving downtown on game nights when I don't have tickets, in the winter, I'll wish I was circling Rupp Arena to take full advantage of the technology and get that "at the game" experience.

    1) 2) 3) Downtown Lexington has serious parking issues that are not going to be addressed by this budget. Lexington does not own the land to deliver parking to the public that will allow them to have a good experience of downtown. Putting in free public parking would anger the lot owners that significantly overcharge everyone on event nights.

    A Louisville venue owner told me that Lexington as a city government is not nightlife friendly as they regularly make it very hard for related businesses to get started and to continue operating. There are too few liquor licenses and some were at one point owned by people who were reselling them for a profit. Getting permits, getting licenses, inspections...and afterwards getting final approval is ridiculous and delayed just to be delayed for some reason if not at one time to extort money from owners. Rent is also ridiculous for the rate of return.

    The bottom line is that UK is fairly isolated from downtown but it's worse because of weather during the cooler months. There isn't enough student/ticket holder mass transit taking people into and out of downtown. Established venues are too scattered. An entertainment district would help with that, but it's an idea that cannot be worked out for everyone's benefit. As usual, only a few will make money from it.

    The best thing for downtown is for it not to depend solely on UK for revenue and do something for itself. The best thing for UK is to not worry so much about carrying downtown Lexington when the city often refuses to do much for Lexington. The last bunch of LCC renovations were supposed t make that big difference for them. I guess they didn't.

    4) Time to stop throwing good money after bad so to speak and build an on-campus arena. Improves the revenue problem for UK by putting a lot of things within their control.

    a) UK's campus has the parking, the traffic plan, and the space to be a premier venue for an arena. An arena there will allow
    Rupp to be an even better tournament site and one that UK could play during the tourney in most years.
    b) It will force the city of Lexington and LCC to earn their business and do more to bring businesses and people downtown instead of trying to milk them for everything they can while they are there.
    c) If it is part of a shared/adjoining structure with Commonwealth Stadium, I've seen posts that someone drew some plans up, it will enhance Commonwealth's facilities in the process and reduce the footprint of the stadium. Win, win, money saved, slam dunk, and TD KY...
    d) Downtown Lexington in conjunction with UK could setup a shuttle system for students and ticket holders to ride free to and from downtown on gamedays, setup street fairs, pep rallies, and such for night before and/or day of activities. They could shut down Mill Street altogether for 24 hours and make it a pedway into downtown with vendors and beer gardens between Main and Vine.
    e) Turn the turf square in downtown into a shuttle hub and an entertainment center with restaurants, bars, and an alumni center, maybe a Rupp South where people could watch the game live on outdoor big screens. Give something back to UK for a change and see what it does for downtown.
    f) Reduce downtown parking costs on event days if you want people to spend more time there during and after games.
    g) While the arena would hold 1/2 or so of Commonwealth's capacity, more people would be encouraged to get parking passes to park there on gameday, revenue for UK, and pregame there. If there is free shuttle service to and from downtown after the games,
    it encourages more people to carpool and park there and not drive downtown, making the roads downtown safer and probably reducing DUI and alcohol related accidents/fatalities.

    Fixing Rupp is a bandaid and the ointment is still at least bleeding UK's revenues. At worst these improvements don't bring more business and revenues downtown, bleeding the state and people of the city as well. The only sure winner is LCC. That's the only guarantee and it's a sickeningly familiar one.

    This post had multiple contributors.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by DDoubleD99666 3 years ago

  • Naming right's and it could not be called Rupp.....

    That would suck.

    Go Cats'!

    This post was edited by UK_Cats27 3 years ago

    "They had it before you, they had it during you, they'll have it when you're gone"...." - Al McGuire on Kentucky Basketball Tradition

  • This is better than nothing but I would have preferred bulldozing and getting an entirely new arena like UL did. If they really want to do something to make the experience better and make for better viewing on TV they need to get rid of the blue hairs. If you're honest and you compare Rupp crowds with other big time hoops home court crowds Rupp is pretty quiet and pretty boring. Redoing how tickets are done would do more for UK than any renovations they might do.

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  • CarlLexington said... (original post)

    This is better than nothing but I would have preferred bulldozing and getting an entirely new arena like UL did. If they really want to do something to make the experience better and make for better viewing on TV they need to get rid of the blue hairs. If you're honest and you compare Rupp crowds with other big time hoops home court crowds Rupp is pretty quiet and pretty boring. Redoing how tickets are done would do more for UK than any renovations they might do.

    That seems a bit hypocritical for a liberal like yourself to, so blatantly, suggest discriminating against a select group of our society... don't ya think? What if we said we want all women or all Mexicans or even all gays, for example, be forced to give up their seats for not being loud enough... or for not actively participating in the cheers? Would you scream THAT'S DISCRIMINATION and then rush to call in the aid of Jesse Jackson and the ACLU? I'm sure you would.... and understandably so I might add.

    I'm just busting your chops, but you see how easy it is for opinions and/or comments to be blown way out of proportion... and used by others to "label" you a certain way and make false claims against you? That's how some Christians, Conservatives and supporters of the Tea Party, for example, feel when they are blamed, accused, labeled and attacked in the same fashion... by those like you. No offense... just making a point.

    This post was edited by JawJacker 3 years ago

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  • I'm not a liberal and screw old people.

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  • CarlLexington said... (original post)

    I'm not a liberal and screw old people.

    Maybe so, but you still get my point... I assume.

    No harm, no foul.

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  • I get the point. Wrong place to make it though.

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  •  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.

    Sounds very familiar. Check.

    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." nono fingergun

    WHAT? Noo. Horrible idea. Traffic and too many bodies are already taking up too much room as it is, get those people out of downtown and explore more of what else is offered inside or outside New Circle. Terrible idea. That would be letting terrible fans and would complicate exit/create more downtown traffic. FQI (fan quality index) would become lowww.