Unveiling of Rupp redesign is Monday

FANS WANT BETTER SEATS, TECHNOLOGY

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comFebruary 8, 2014 

Mayor Jim Gray and Gov. Steve Beshear will reveal the designs for a revamped Rupp Arena and convention center on Monday.

Results of a fan survey released late Friday show that fans want better seats, high- d e f i n i t i o n videos and better Wi-fi inside of Lexington’s most re c o g n i z e d landmark.

More than 8,355 respondents from 118 Kentucky counties, 37 states and the District of Columbia responded to the fan experience survey in January. More than 69 percent of respondents said they have visited Rupp Arena in the past six months; 92 percent had attended at least one University of Kentucky game at Rupp.

“The amount of feedback we received from the Big Blue Nation was amazing,” Gray said. “The more ideas we can hear about how to improve the experience at Rupp and downtown Lexington, the better this project will be.”

Respondents were asked what they felt was most important for a redesigned Rupp Arena. Approximately 52 percent said chair-backed seats. The upper level has bench-style seats. The lower level has chair-backed seats. Other respondents said high-definition video was the most important feature at 45 percent. Free Wi-fi was third at 44 percent.

Gray has pushed for the redesign of the arena as part of a larger plan for a new arts and entertainment district for downtown.

NBBJ architects and local architects EOP have spearheaded the redesign. Initial design plans include moving the convention center to the west of Rupp Arena and “freeing” Rupp so it can be seen from all sides of the complex. The interior bowl of Rupp Arena will largely remain the same but with better seating in the upper deck, more bathrooms and a diverse food selection.

More details about the design will be announced on Monday. In addition to Beshear, members of the University of Kentucky athletics department will also attend the news conference, according to a release from the city.

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

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