Want to suggest changes at Rupp Arena? Here's your chance

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comJanuary 2, 2014 

Got ideas about what you would like to see inside the newly redesigned Rupp Arena?

The city is holding a public forum Wednesday to seek input. The public hearing will be 6 to 7 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom in downtown Lexington, before the Kentucky-Mississippi State game.

"We're having a public meeting to talk a little about plans for Rupp, but most importantly to hear from fans. ...What kinds of changes would they like to see inside the arena?" Mayor Jim Gray said.

University of Kentucky fans who can't attend the hearing or can't wait to give their thoughts can take an online survey at Ruppdistrict.com.

Fans also can participate via social media, said Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for Gray.

Architects and city officials will be online from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday to answer questions submitted via e-mailinfo@ruppdistrict.com or through social media at Facebook.com/RuppDistrict and @RuppDistrict on Twitter.

The public hearing will focus on the arena and what fans would like to see changed to improve the experience.

Seattle-based architectural firm NBBJ was picked in July to design the Rupp Arena renovation and new Lexington Convention Center. Hunt Construction of Indianapolis was tapped as general contractor.

NBBJ and Hunt Construction have previous experience building arenas. NBBJ designed the $136 million renovation of UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. It also worked on the Los Angeles Lakers' Staples Center, the Seattle Mariners' Safeco Field and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

Hunt built Rupp Arena in 1976 and has built the Orlando Magic's Amway Center, the Charlotte Bobcats' Time Warner Cable Arena, the Indianapolis Colts' Lucas Oil Stadium and the St. Louis Cardinals' Busch Stadium.

Architects for the project held a town-hall meeting in early September to go over initial design concepts for Rupp Arena and the convention center. Some of those ideas include decoupling Rupp Arena from the convention center so one of Lexington's most well-known landmarks is more visible. The proposed design includes expanding the convention center to include more user-friendly meeting space.

A financial plan to pay for the project has been delayed for several months so city officials can get accurate estimates on how much the redesign would cost. Previous estimates have the redesign of the convention center at $110 million. Rupp could cost $140 to $150 million. Those estimates could change after final designs are submitted in coming months.

Straub declined to say when the financial plan would be released. "Within the next couple of months, people will have a chance to see the proposed design and we will discuss the financial plan," she said.

Beth Musgrave: (859) 231-3205. Twitter: @HLCityhall.

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