Rupp Arena design plans unveiled - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Rupp Arena design plans unveiled

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- A big reveal took place Monday afternoon to unveil the design plans for Rupp Arena.

Gov. Steve Beshear and Lexington's mayor appeared with University of Kentucky officials to share the plans Monday.

Calling the $310 million renovation of Rupp Arena and Lexington's civic center "critical," Beshear touted the jobs the renovations were expected to draw to the city. Beshear also noted that he designated $85 million of his proposed state budget for the project, and added that "I am going to make sure" that it happens.

Brent Rice, chairman of Lexington's Arena, Arts and Entertainment Task Force, told those in attendance that he and his colleagues have been working behind the scenes on a long-term lease with the University of Kentucky.

"We have not been sitting idle -- at all -- dealing with this finance plan," Rice said.

He said a number of different finance options were all on the table, including corporate taxpayer funding, corporate investment and even individual investment.

He noted that naming rights could also up for grabs in the future, though he said that was "the last thing" he wanted to talk about right now, and he reiterated that "Rupp" would always be part of the arena name.

Robert Mankin, partner with NBBJ, the architecture firm that -- along with Lexington-based EOP Architects -- designed the renovated Rupp Arena, boasted that the arena would have an "indoor-outdoor" quality, with game attendees inside the arena being able to see out into the city, and people in the city being able to see folks inside the arena.

He said chairback seats would be installed throughout the arena, as well as new scoreboards and Wi-Fi service.

Despite all of these modern touches, Mankin assured fans that the historic character of the arena would be respect throughout the new design.

"The bones of Rupp Arena are really very good," he said.

Fans chimed in with a survey, saying they want new seats and technology upgrades.

Rupp is the basketball home for the Kentucky Wildcats, and was built in the 1970s. Beshear says the upgrade will go beyond campus, bringing in tourism, investment and jobs.

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