Rupp Arena, home to one of the most iconic men’s basketball programs, is getting a makeover. The plan has been years in the making – but this morning, the Lexington Center Corporation board officially picked an architecture firm and a builder. The board selected NBBJ, a Los Angeles architecture firm, and Hunt Construction, which was part of the original construction of Rupp dating back to 1974.
At the afternoon meeting with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and a UK representative, more details of the renovations were released.
According to Tim Sullivan of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Rupp will be a stand alone building (it’s currently attached to the Lexington Convention Center) and the seating will remain at 23,500. But there is good news for the upper deck — according to the NCAA, the new plan has the nosebleed bleachers getting replaced with actual seat backs. The first phase of the project will start in the Fall of 2014 — the project will be done in stages to avoid disruption with UK basketball. The word is that the remodeling will be finished in two years.
Also, the name “Rupp Arena” will stay – at least for now:
— Tim Sullivan (@TimSullivan714) July 10, 2013
The first look at the upgrade design will be shown during Big Blue Madness in October, but here are some samples of the design to hold you over:
During the meeting, Mayor Gray said these plans will create a “remarkable, iconic building” for the “holy grail of college basketball”.