Commonwealth Stadium to undergo $110 million renovation - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Commonwealth Stadium to undergo $110 million renovation

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Kentucky football fans and season ticket holders can expect new lights, new bathrooms, concession stands and a generally improved aesthetic under a planned $110 million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium.

They can also expect fewer seats. 6,000 fewer seats.

The loss of seats will make way for 28 executive suites - the sale of which will help cover the cost of the $110 million renovation, according to university spokesman Jay Blanton.

But UK officials claim the changes will help the program and the university. The athletic department will also chip in $65 million for a new science building on campus.  

"As I said I'm very excited about the stadium, it's going to be great for our fans, great for our players. It's already having an effect on our recruiting," UK head football coach Mark Stoops told a crowd of UK fans, staff and state officials at the Nutter Fieldhouse Monday. "It's been a trying season this year. And every time I turn I see Dr. Capiluto supporting me and Mitch Barnhart supporting me."

Stoops admits it's been a tough year. Attendance has improved after suffering greatly last year. A question we posed to Barnhart (which drew the ire of a handful of UK fans attending).

WDRB News: "How do you justify a $110 million expansion when there are certain weekends when there are empty seats?"

Barnhart: "We've been pretty solid in our attendance. So I would disagree with you a little bit in saying that there are empty seats. There are empty seats in a lot of stadiums. We've got to go ahead and renovate our stadium to keep it up to date. If you are not trying to move ahead you're falling behind."

The following figures below don't show actual attendance numbers, but the number of tickets sold this year - ranging from 54 to 69 thousand.

Sept. 7 v. Miami (oh) - 54,846

Sept. 14 v. U of L - 65,445

Sept. 28 v. Fla. - 62,076

Oct. 16 v. Ala. - 69,873

Nov. 2 v. Ala St. - 53,797

Nov. 9 v. Missouri - 55,280

Construction next year could force some fans out of 2000 upper deck seats. That change is expected to be temporary, and Barnhart said the athletic department will notify those season ticket holders affected.

Fans like Danny Forrest of Louisville, a season ticket holder for three decades, says the renovation will mean a great deal for the program.

"I think it plays a great deal into it. You know the players are excited about it. And it gives us a level to compete with the other teams."

To read more about the renovation, find WDRB's Rick Bozich's column, right here on wdrb.com.

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