Commonwealth Stadium construction won't take a break for upcoming football season

ngray@herald-leader.comJuly 22, 2014 

Construction workers at the University of Kentucky's Commonwealth Stadium will continue work through UK's football season with the goal of completing renovations before the 2015 season.

UK will kick off its 2014 season at home against Tennessee-Martin on Aug. 30. The $110 million stadium project will continue on non-game days, forcing some changes to the way fans enter Commonwealth Stadium on game days.

Construction crews will work until Thursday on game weeks before cleaning up the construction area and setting up temporary fencing by Saturday morning, UK Athletics project manager Russ Pear said.

Because of construction on the south side of the stadium (where UK's sideline is located), Gates 10 and 11 will be closed during the season.

Pear recommends that fans use Gates 9 or 12, the closest entry points to Commonwealth Stadium on the south side, or the gate closest to where fans will park.

"Our event management team is working to clear up other logistical problems (before the season begins)," he said.

Pear said good weather during late summer and fall would allow construction to continue through the season.

"Sequencing is important," Pear said. "Obviously, what we're trying to do is get a lot of good weather. The final home game for us this season will be Nov. 8, and we think we can manage about one more month of decent weather after the season ends. At that point, we're hoping what we're working on at that time will be closed (by a roof or glass)."

UK Athletics spokesman Tony Neely said that seating capacity will be down about 6,000 in 2014 compared with 2013 because of construction in the south upper deck. Rows 22 through 39 have been removed, he said, in favor of a new structure that will rise above the upper deck and hold luxury suites, along with a new press box.

About 2,000 season ticket holders held seats in the removed area. Those holders were allowed to choose where they wanted to move. Commonwealth Stadium has a large enough allotment at the price range of the former seats that holders would not get priced out of tickets.

The student section will remain in the same location this season, Neely said. Plans for shifting students to the east end zone will be implemented in 2015, which coincides with UK Athletics' goals of completion.

"What we're really targeting is 409 days (the Friday before the 2015 season begins)," Pear said. "Everything we accomplish along that way is progressing to that goal."

Photo gallery

Nick Gray: (859) 231-1330. Twitter: @ngray_63.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service