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Photo Gallery: Rupp Arena Renovations

  • The city of Lexington has called a news conference for 1 p.m. today to unveil the Rupp Arena renovations plan. Mayor Jim Gray and Gov. Steve Beshear are supposed to be on hand. Possibly someone from UK will be there as well.

    I'll be at the news conference and will post the updates and pictures of the plans here as we get them.

    This post was edited by Jon Hale 2 months ago

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  • I am very interested in seeing the pics.

    UK Athletic facilities are going to look a lot different in the coming years.

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  • Still hearing from a few people who have been in on associated meetings that financing/how they're going to pay for it remains a significant hurdle and plans have been mostly vague. Will be interesting to see if they can get it done.

  • Just handed a news release. Some features in the renovations:

    -- A transparent skin "to bring energy inside to the city outside:
    -- Catwalk leading from University to arena district
    -- Outdoor video screens
    -- Chairback seats throughout the arena
    -- Upgraded technology (wifi)
    -- A new center-hung scoreboard

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  • Important point: Gov. Beshear included $65 million for Rupp District in his budget plan, and city is "working on a detailed financial plan that will involve several partners, including a long-term lease with UK, the state legislature, the Urban City Council and KHSAA."

    Total cost estimated at $310 million.

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  • Just saw some renderings that are embargoed until 1:30. Very cool stuff.

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  • What about luxury suites/dugouts or other premium club-type seating?

  • Rupp has been in need of renovations for a good minute. The new scoreboard will be a huge upgrade over Bertha. Any idea of how many seats we losing?

  • Aerial view is first rendering released.

    This post was edited by Jon Hale 2 months ago

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  • Mayor Jim Gray says we're "halfway" to a renovated Rupp. Gov. Steve Besear adds, "I'm confident with all the parties at the table this project will become a reality, and I'm going to make sure it does."

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  • UK Associate AD DeWayne Peevy is here. Chairman Brent Rice said UK's financial contribution to the project will be through the lease, which is not finalized.

    Rupp naming rights are still on the table, but Rice said "Rupp" will remain in the name.

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  • Really cool video from Rupp District:

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  • Here's our gallery of all the renderings

    This post was edited by Jon Hale 2 months ago

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  • Jon Hale said... (original post)

    UK Associate AD DeWayne Peevy is here. Chairman Brent Rice said UK's financial contribution to the project will be through the lease, which is not finalized.

    Rupp naming rights are still on the table, but Rice said "Rupp" will remain in the name.

    Not to brag but this is what I proposed in one of my undergraduate proposals. I'm just going to assume Mitch read it...

    "Company X's Rupp Arena" It's a great compromise.


  • Sketches and video look amazing! Wonder if Alltech will bid for the naming rights. It would make perfect sense.

    This post was edited by NotoriousBBN 2 months ago

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  • Place looks absolutely amazing! banana

    Can't wait to see the complete transformation in person in a few years!

  • Damn. Those pics look legit!

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  • bluedynasty said... (original post)

    What about luxury suites/dugouts or other premium club-type seating?

    According to UK Associate AD DeWaynee Peevy, it looks like there is a good chance of this.

    Also from Peevy: UK wants capacity to remain the same and not decrease. There's a chance they'll move the student seats around. Lot of talk about making the lease with the city more of a "partnership."

    Also lots of talk about the Yum Center and how much, if any, that fiasco has had on the talks here.

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  • Sketches look great. Can't wait to see this become a reality in the near future.

  • Here's a transcript of some stuff UK Associate AD DeWayne Peevy said after the unveiling. This includes UK's official stance on the project, as Peevy was their representative there today:

    On UK’s involvement in the project so far
    Well, personally, actually, I’ve been involved since last summer when we really got heavy with the talks about the design plans. I think that was the start. Members of our staff, UK athletics staff, were more involved in the design: What do we need? We’re the ones playing – and the others like the high school association as well – but just talking about different amenities, things we would need in a new, reinvented Rupp Arena. So that’s how the process really started, just the design pieces.

    And the good thing for me is we were going through a renovation for football, so we’d been through similar things and talks and had time to think about things that our fans needed; we’d already surveyed our fans for football. We allowed our fans, season-ticket holders to get the Rupp Arena surveys to find out different things about Rupp. So that’s kind of how the process started through the summer, and then from there, once we started talking the design pieces, we got into, ‘OK, if this project moves forward, what does a new lease for Rupp Arena look like? And how do the finances (work)?’ So we went through some of the meat and potatoes of that, the structure, how could it be? Were we willing to sign a new lease upon the agreement? Which we had been in very good conversations with that along the lines.

    But what we had to get to was some other things like Brent (Rice, Lexington Center chair) talked about – finding out the actual cost. We did a lot of models of what it could be in theory. Now we know what we’re talking about from a project scope. Now we know what’s involved in that, and our part would really be more in our long-term lease agreement. And at that time, when we get to that point, I’d love to have where Mitch Barnhart, Dr. Capilouto, Coach Calipari are all up on the stage announce a new lease with Rupp Arena that solidifies this project moving forward.

    On how close UK is to signing that new lease
    Um, I think, as you saw today, some of those number, $300 million is a lot of money. We’re not on the hook for that, but I think in theory we have the bones of how our lease agreement could work. It’s just going to determine if – now, we have such a long relationship and what we have with Rupp Arena, the city, a long relationship, now we can be a little bit more creative. So we started about that: Let’s look at our lease agreement instead of being just a regular rent agreement, tenant kind of agreement – because the bones of this, the one thing you’re probably counting on the most is Kentucky basketball being a part of this.

    You’re not doing this project without University of Kentucky and Kentucky basketball being a part of it, so it allowed us to think more creatively. So now that we know the design and it’s more final, I think now we can kind of fine-tune where we are in the lease agreement and, as the city and LCC bring to the table their parts to make this work – we’re only one part of it – it’s hard to say what our part is, but I think we’re a lot closer than we were in the summer when we were just talking about what this looks like.

    On concerns about displacement of the team during construction
    When we started the process, even picking the construction companies, it was based on us not having to be displaced. So it will be done in different phases to allow us to not miss time playing games in Rupp Arena.

    On expecting zero missed time in the building then
    No. I mean, basically the bids were based on that being the actual situation.

    On the “Coming Fall 2017” at the end of the video being the finish date
    I mean, that’s the goal but it depends on the start. Once you have a finalized project and we’re a go, that’s the goal – for ’17.

    On the way adding chairback seats throughout might affect capacity
    All of our talks have been to not lower capacity. That was one of the things that we wanted for our fans. I think both sides felt like chairbacks in the upper deck was a major part of that. Of course, with that, it reduces capacity in that level, so we wanted to maintain that the rest of the arena … puts those seats back into the hands of our fans. So we don’t anticipate being an attendance drop. That’s one of the main things we wanted as far as the project was concerned.

    On being confident that can happen, maintaining capacity while adding chairbacks
    We have a plan in place of how they can. I mean, of course, we’re still dealing with the same thing with Commonwealth Stadium, where we have a plan but you don’t know the exact number. That’s the same thing we’re in as far as design.

    On luxury suites at Rupp (a key addition at Commonwealth) and whether that’s on the table
    Yes, I think that was a big help for us that we were going through football. We had talked to our fans about needs – keeping in mind that one’s an outdoor and one’s an indoor, but there will be some club seating; there will be some possible seats. And we looked at loge boxes, some of the things we have in the Commonwealth Stadium plan.

    On student seating
    I think that's one of the things that's probably been more of a topic that we've got to discuss a little more, because in the summer that was probably a different conversation than it is now. One of the things that we changed with Commonwealth Stadium -- I think from the students, it was a topic in how we were going to do it. I think it wasn't going to affect the plan of it, because the seating capacity wasn't gonna change, so it didn't force our hands. But I think we're looking at more how we do the student seating now that it's been more of a topic (than) it was back in June. We never would have imagined at that time that we would have a reduced amount of student tickets being picked up at basketball, back in the summer. Now that it is, we've got to look at it differently (in terms) of how we place them, where they are, what kind of seating. I think that's gonna be a conversation. It's probably the only details of design that could be kind of changed a little bit, but that's all within the scope of what we've done.

    On what the thought process is with student tickets
    You know, location. Are we talking about -- are we taking the same Commonwealth Stadium approach and putting in one area, end zone area, or is it more standing-room only area? More lower level? I think we all want to get to the point where we have more, better seats. Whether we reduce overall capacity or anything like that, that hasn't been a discussion point at this point.

    On how confident he is that UK will be a part of the new building
    I think it won't happen without us. I think we're the biggest tenant. I think part of the revenues that the state (provides) and the bonding will be dependent on some kind of dedicated revenue. I mean, it's a little harder to forecast concerts for '17 when you haven't built the building. The one thing you know is gonna be there is Kentucky basketball. So I think the lease agreement with us is a major part, and that's our big part of it.

    On if UK is on board with the project
    I mean, we've been in it every step of the way. We've been a part of the design phase, we've been a part of the financial talks, we've been a part of the lease discussions. When we sign the papers, we'll be proudly up on that stage telling everybody that we're a partner with Rupp Arena and Lexington.

    On if there are specific things they want out of the lease agreement
    Well the lease, you've got to realize, that lease agreement -- a lot of things are different now. You're talking about premium seating. You're talking about a huge project. It's a little different. Our lease agreement now is more of a standard -- and some of you have probably even seen it -- it's more about rent as a tenant. When you talk about a project this huge, $310 million in scope, we wanted to take a look at it. Let's look at more of a partnership. Even if it isn't said on paper, we feel like we're a big part of that. And so it's not gonna be a regular tenant-rent thing. So we wanted to look at it bigger, because we want to make this happen too. We understand (it's a) big part of the city. We understand what it could do for our program. We are the gold standard. If we're gonna do this, we want to do it right. And I think part of that is just figuring out every little dollar to make sure we're not coming back and realizing we should have done something different. And that's all parties involved; that's not just UK athletics.

    On if they're negotiating from a position of power and wanting to maximize the deal for UK, knowing project won't get done without them
    I don't think it's really that. I think that's part of being (in) the long-term relationship that we've had. I know I've loved working with the city and Rupp Arena during the time I've been here, in six years, and like I said, it's a partnership. We know if we're holding their feet to the fire, that you got to do this for us or you got to do that, that doesn't really help us in the long run. We don't want that going to the back of the taxpayers of the city of Lexington. Hey, I live here, too. I'm a taxpayer. I don't want that on my back. We understand we have a role. We have a partnership, we have a longstanding relationship that we can grow with. And this might even make it unprecedented. There might be other schools that don't have these kind of relationships, because usually those arenas are on campus. This is an opportunity for us and the city and Rupp Arena to do something special.

    On if U of L's lease with the Yum! Center has come up in discussions
    I think that started from the beginning. When the conversations first started -- and and Brent definitely could allude to that -- people knew about that and the issues. And so we were protecting of that. I think that's the one thing. We didn't want to go into anything that people couldn't see that this was not the same kind of deal, that there weren't any things that were gonna come back and hurt us. And that's why we've got to be very careful that when we show you a detailed financial plan that it's sound, people understand it and see no holes in it. We're not there yet. We're close, but now we're a step closer because we now know what actually the project is.

    On if John Calipari has remained hands-off in the process
    I don't know if it's the fact that I'm involved that makes him feel a little bit more at ease, because I can tell him everything and know about it. It's been a good thing for me. I mean, how many times in your career do you go through two total reinventions of a football and a basketball arena? But I think even today, I told (Calipari) we were coming over here for this, and he hasn't seen the designs or the video or anything like that. My best thing for him was to allow him to coach basketball and we'll worry about all these other things. I know what he likes and loves, because he tells me every day. So we'll make sure the things that matter to him (are included). I think part of that was the locker-room stuff was the stuff he needed for the student-athlete. This is more about the fans, the Big Blue Nation, and he understands it's a lot more people involved in that process than just him.

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  • Sounds to me like UK going to pay much more than they do now. Pay about seven mil a year now. Hope UK doesn't get the shaft. Sounds like very few corporate boxes too. What about recruiting room/facility?