Thursday, December 28, 2000

1st Rupp upgrades: video walls

State to kick in $30 million

By Steve Bailey
The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — Jumbo video walls mounted in each corner of the upper level of Rupp Arena are only the first step in a multimillion-dollar renovation of the arena and the adjacent Lexington Center, city and state officials announced Wednesday.

        While unveiling the 12-foot-by-20-foot screens, Gov. Paul Patton presented $15 million to Lexington Mayor Pam Miller for the continuing work, scheduled to run through 2002.

        “It's a pleasure for me to be here to celebrate another milestone in the development of my downtown — Lexington,” said Mr. Patton, who pledged another $15 million for the project from the 2002 state budget. “Lexington is downtown eastern Kentucky, and I mean that seriously.”

        Although total budget numbers are still being cal culated, officials said they planned to spend about $48 million to renovate the 23,000-seat home of the Kentucky Wildcats and expand the convention facilities at Lexington Center.

        “Anytime we do something to improve the services that are available in this part of the

        state, it benefits a vast majority of the commonwealth. So it's appropriate that the state become a partner with this community to upgrade this facility to world-class level,” Mr. Patton said.

        In addition to the new video walls, which cost about $3.5 million, other planned improvements to Rupp Arena include:

        • A new entry pavilion with nearly 11,000 square feet of lobby space.

        • Upgraded lighting and sound systems.

        • More fan services on the purple concourse and in the arena's upper level.

        “In my opinion, the atmosphere that surrounds Kentucky basketball games — not only in Rupp but throughout the city of Lexington — is unique in the basketball world,” Kentucky athletics director Larry Ivy said. “We feel like these renovations will bring the facility up to speed, and this new building we're going to see soon is going to keep the Cats downtown for a long time to come.”


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