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Kentucky announces plans to upgrade facilities
Back on Tuesday, Kentucky launched a fundraising website (kfundonline.com) that laid out some plans for a new stadium.
The plans for the new stadium include up to $125 million dollar in upgrades meant to "reinvent Commonwealth Stadium". During the Courier Journal's interview with athletic director Mitch Barnhart earlier today, he noted that state leaders support $110 million in agency bonds for the stadium.
Part of that reinvention is aimed at the fans, with plans to upgrade concession areas, restrooms, and the video boards. The addition of up to 2,500 new club level seats and up to 15 new suites are being considered as well.
The overall seating capacity is not going to be added to, and the University would like maintain or even slightly reduce the overall capacity in an effort of increase the value of the existing seats.
Kentucky has been viewed by many as not being entirely committed to football, because many of their projects (seven total over the past decade) are in places that aren't necessarily visited by the public.
"We’ve always been committed to football," Barnhart maintained. "People view it differently and they’ve got measuring sticks and I get that.
"For us, we’ve completed 10 projects in football in the last seven years in different ways and shapes and forms, and unfortunately no one (notices). Sometimes, they just can’t see them because they’re places that people just don’t go. This will be something that everybody can see. So for the critics out there, they’ll have to make their own judgment, but we’ve always been committed to football and I’m absolutely comfortable going forward that this, in a large way, indicates how important football is to the University of Kentucky.”
The stadium renovations are part of a campus-wide $275 million renovation that received approval from Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and the state's legislative leaders.
"This is critical," said UK president Eli Capilouto. "The success of our football program is how athletics remains one of the handful of financially self-sufficient programs in the country. It's how athletics funds millions of dollars in academic scholarships and other University needs each year."