Local News

Lexington officials now have architectural and construction firms in place for a large-scale renovation of Rupp Arena, the home of the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team.

What’s missing is financing.

Leaders from the city and the Lexington Center Corporation overseeing the project announced Wednesday that the firm NBBJ would design the new building and Hunt Construction would do the construction work.

Lexington Center Corporation Chairman Brent Rice says the renovated Rupp will have the same  seating capacity of more than 23,000. But the building would get new amenities under the project.

He says the corporation has 14 concepts for financing the project, which include naming rights for the convention center. Officials expect to have schematics for the new Rupp by Nov. 1.

“Then we will know what this project will cost,” Rice said. “During that time we will identify the revenue sources, we’ll finalize the business plan and we absolutely hope we can continue to stay on schedule, because we have to.”

During the announcement, Gov. Steve Beshear noted that the state would also play a role in financing the deal.

He added: “This is going to be a partnership of a lot of folks when it’s all said and done.”

Architect Robert Mankin says the project will renew Rupp.

“Rupp Arena and the Lexington Center were state of the art when they were first constructed, and they have brought a rich legacy to Lexington and the state of Kentucky,” Mankin said. “They will be state of the art again.”