Jen Smith on UK Football

What other Commonwealth Stadium improvements could be in the works?

A view from the suite-level patio of the newly renovated Commonwealth Stadium.
A view from the suite-level patio of the newly renovated Commonwealth Stadium.

Nearly all of the finishing touches on the massive overhaul of Commonwealth Stadium are finished. But Mitch Barnhart still has grander visions for the Cats’ football home.

“There’s always more that we’re going to do,” the athletic director told the Herald-Leader last week. “I want to look at something every year that we continue to try and tweak things.”

Some things on his To Do List include adding bleacher backs to the entire stadium (UK is adding bleacher backs to the remainder of the lower bowl except in the student section this summer).

There is a plan to address what Barnhart called “the technology pieces,” including wireless Internet issues, sound distribution throughout the stadium and more.

Kentucky will be looking to improve the overall fan experience, too, not just making cosmetic changes. Focus soon will go to fan amenities, concessions, ways to make games more fun for younger fans and more.

“There are major league baseball parks and some football parks are going to some of those things that kids enjoy doing when they come to the game,” said Barnhart, who signed a new contract through 2022. “Maybe there are things we can do to make it more family friendly. I want to continue to look at those kinds of things.”

And don’t be surprised to see new scoreboards go in at some point, too. Kentucky paid about $6 million to upgrade those in 2011.

“Eventually we’re going to have to address the scoreboards because those things date themselves, they get out of date,” Barnhart said. “They’re young in their shelf life right now, but they last between 7-10 years. So we’re about halfway through that shelf life.”

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