Senate panel advances bill allowing renovation of Commonwealth Stadium

lblackford@herald-leader.comFebruary 14, 2013 

Sports Turf crews prepared the field at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington in September 2011, just ahead of the first home game of the season. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff

The Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee unanimously approved a bill to allow some state universities to self-finance 11 construction projects, including a major renovation to the University of Kentucky's Commonwealth Stadium.

House Bill 7 now goes to the Senate, its last stop in the legislative process before going to Gov. Steve Beshear to be signed into law.

The 11 projects will be paid for with about $363 million in agency bonds, which means the bonds will be paid off with universities' revenues rather than state general fund dollars.

Other UK projects include a $65 million expansion of the Gatton School of Business, paid off with mostly private fundraising, and a $100 million science building, two-thirds of which will be paid by UK Athletics. Athletics also will pay for the $110 million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium.

Other projects include dorm construction and renovations at Morehead State, Murray State and Northern Kentucky universities. The University of Louisville will renovate its student activities center for $9.6 million. Western Kentucky University will issue $22 million in bonds for a new honors college and international center, which would be paid off with higher tuition from international students.

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