Kentucky reveals Rupp Arena redesign
FEB 10, 2014 1:17p ET
The University of Kentucky has plans for a "Rupp for the 21st century," and the artists renderings for the redesign project of its historic basketball venue deliver on the promise. Both inside and out, Rupp Arena's upgrade, estimated to be completed in 2017, should deliver one of the premier gameday experiences in college basketball.
This is important, especially for one of the most profitable programs in the country.
On Monday, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Brent Rice, chairman of the renovation project, took the stage in high spirits to reveal plans for one of the state's biggest undertakings.
"This is one of the great moments in the history of Rupp Arena," Rice said.
Added Gray: "This is the most significant economic development project in the state. It creates jobs."
To accompany the variety of photos projecting potential layouts of the new arena, the committee released a video to compile the entire experience:
Throughout the project, the University of Kentucky and its partners have placed an emphasis on the fan experience at games, both inside and outside the arena -- particularly the outside portion of it, where athletic director Mitch Barnhart has been quoted as saying to recruits: "I'm kind of embarrassed. I always have to tell them, 'Wait 'til you get inside.'"
The new Rupp looks as if it will light up the Lexington sky. The Rupp project is roughly structured to create a similar environment as the ones found at Staples Center in Los Angeles or Barclays Center in New York, fan-friendly as possible.
As the official Twitter feed of the project pointed out, when Rupp was first constructed in 1976, the focus was not on fan amenities. Things have changed in the modern landscape of college sports. The new Rupp looks to offer larger and more aesthetically-pleasing concourses, viewing decks at each corner of the arena, free WiFi, a new scoreboard with HD video and updated acoustics.
There are still obstacles to overcome, but by the looks of things, John Calipari -- and whoever follows him in Lexington -- will have no trouble selling Kentucky's atmosphere. Pretty much sells itself.