Commonwealth Stadium is now officially Kroger Field, but two members of the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees voted Tuesday against the 12-year, $22.2 million name-change deal with the grocery chain.
The deal was opposed by representatives for faculty and students on the board of trustees.
Former Student Government Association President Rowan Reid, who was at her last trustees’ meeting, said she had heard too much opposition from students and others about the “commercialization” of a long UK tradition that recognized UK’s role in the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Trustee Lee Blonder said she looked up the minutes from the 1973 meeting in which UK President Otis Singletary recommended the name Commonwealth Stadium, which “would recognize the fact the stadium actually belonged to the commonwealth.”
Trustee David Hawpe said that while he wished “commonwealth” could have been incorporated in the new name, he supported Kroger’s corporate philanthropy throughout Kentucky. He voted with the 16 other trustees to approve the deal, which also makes Kroger the official pharmacy and fuel provider of UK Athletics, among other things.
In other business, the trustees approved a $171 million bond issue, most of which will go to UK HealthCare to continue outfitting Pavilion A, the new patient tower at Chandler Hospital on South Limestone. The other $21 million will be used to renovate and expand the College of Law, which was built in 1965.
The board also approved purchasing the former senior citizens center at the corner of South Limestone and Alumni. The city recently opened its new senior center and had previously approved the sale to UK. Officials said UK will use the current parking, while deciding what to do with the building.
They also approved a $3.5 million project to upgrade student recreation fields off Cooper Drive. These will support recreational soccer, lacrosse, rugby, flag football and field hockey. The grass will be replaced with a synthetic surface, as well as lighting improvements.
President Eli Capilouto also announced 16 University Research Professorships for the upcoming school year. The award gives faculty $10,000 to work on research projects across the university.
“It is truly gratifying to recognize these distinguished experts who have made significant contributions in so many fields of research,” said Lisa Cassis, UK’s Vice President of research.
University Research Professorship winners
▪ Ole Wendroth, Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture
▪ Ramesh Bhatt, Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences
▪ Abigail Firey, History, College of Arts and Science
▪ J. David Johnson, College of Communication
▪ Gregory Luhan, Architecture, College of Design
▪ Lisa Ruble, School and Counseling Psychology, College of Education
▪ I.S. Jawahir, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
▪ Ebony Patterson, Art and Visual Studies, College of Fine Arts
▪ David Hardesty, Marketing, Gatton College of Business
▪ Charlotte Peterson, College of Health Sciences
▪ Melynda Price, College of Law
▪ Bradley Taylor, Physiology, College of Medicine
▪ Matthew Gentry, Biochemistry, College of Medicine
▪ Terry Lennie, College of Nursing
▪ Jeffery Talbert, Pharmacy Science, College of Pharmacy
▪ Glen Mays, College of Public Health