Fayette County

Four firms submit bids to design Rupp Arena

Jim Gray's
inauguration fund raised $48,250. Fines are possible for filing late.
Jim Gray's inauguration fund raised $48,250. Fines are possible for filing late.

Four architectural firms are vying to take the lead in designing a renovated Rupp Arena, Mayor Jim Gray announced Tuesday.

Commenting on the firms, Gray said, "It's a real tribute to Lexington and the quality of the project to get these kinds of firms."

The four have demonstrated they have the imagination to reinvent Rupp Arena and ignite the surrounding blocks with a new level of excitement and activity, he said.

Frank Butler, director of the Rupp District Project, said the firms have done the vast majority of arenas and convention centers in the United States.

Five other architectural firms responded to a proposal from the Lexington Center Corp. to bid on designing a new convention center. Butler said these firms, too, were selected for their expertise in doing convention center designs.

In addition, five construction management bids were received to build the projects.

Most of the 14 firms teamed with Kentucky architectural and construction companies in making their bids.

A selection committee appointed by the Lexington Center Corp. will interview the firms in the next few weeks and make their recommendations to the Lexington Center board of directors.

Butler expects the board to make the final selections in early July.

"They will start immediately after that, hopefully, by mid-July," he said.

Committee members are Brent Rice, Lexington Center board chairman; Holly Wiedemann, Royce Pulliam, Ray Ball, Cecil Dunn and Craig Turner.

The public will have an opportunity to see the design proposals and ask questions of the architects, Gray said on Tuesday.

Butler said their proposals would be purely conceptual at this point, but it would give the selection committee an idea of how creative the firms can be.

Meanwhile, four consultants hired to develop a strategic plan for the best way to finance the Rupp renovation and a new convention center are expected to be finished by the end of June. Those plans should be ready to be presented to the Lexington Center board at its July meeting.

Gray said in a prepared statement that an "outstanding, specific financial plan" was essential in planning for a way to pay for these facilities.

The following are the four firms that submitted bids to redesign Rupp Arena:

■Space Group/AECOM/Omni (firms from Norway, Kansas City and Lexington)

■HKS/JRS (Dallas and Lexington)

■NBBJ/EOP (Los Angeles and Lexington)

■ Populous/Sherman Carter Barnhart (Kansas City and Lexington)

The five to submit bids to design the convention center:

■M+G Murphy Graves/Ratio (Lexington and Indianapolis)

■Populous/Sherman Carter Barnhart (Kansas City and Lexington)

■NBBJ/EOP (Los Angeles and Lexington)

■LMN/Omni Architects (Seattle and Lexington)

■WORK/Epstein (New York and Chicago)

The five bids to manage the construction of both Rupp and the convention center are from:

■Hunt/Abel/Finch (Indianapolis and Lexington)

■Mortenson/Mathis (Minneapolis and Louisville)

■Skanska/Congleton-Hacker (Stockholm and Lexington)

■Turner/BD Global (National Sports)

■DW Wilburn (Lexington)

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