Mayor Jim Gray and Governor Steve Beshear unveiled the new $ 310 million design for the Rupp Arena on Monday.
If Monday’s multimedia presentation was any indication, officials anticipate nothing less than a high-tech transformation of the Rupp Arena if the new plans come true. The largely transparent angular design extends the arena 25 feet on all sides, adds a glass second floor and a new row of luxury seats inside.
Participants were treated to a video simulation, diving into the widened transparent corridors around the bowl and past a new public entrance extending into Triangle Park.
“It’s about creating a place that lives up to the passion of its people,” said the video announcer.
NBBJ architect Robert Mankin described the changes inside the arena, promising “a new central instrument panel, LED strip panels around the perimeter to give a much more audio / video effect, the WiFi throughout the property, including the toilet bowl, but especially the chair – backrest seats throughout the arena. “
And while the video ended as a movie trailer with the words “Coming Fall 2017,” whether the project becomes reality depends largely on funding. Governor Beshear included $ 65 million in his budget proposal and Mayor Gray said the city’s funding plan would not be released until this summer.
“We have the partners at the table. The way I describe it is that we are a striking distance from materializing this project,” Gray told reporters.
Authorities hope to see a financing plan in place this year, with construction starting in the first quarter of 2015.
However, not all agree with the ambitious plans. Monday’s event drew a single protester. Local activist Don Pratt held signs outside the meeting questioning the city and state’s budget priorities.
Critics also point to the Yum Center in Louisville, which recently had its bonds demoted to “junk bonds,” in part because the tax increase funding didn’t generate enough revenue to pay them off.
Watch “Rupp Reinvented” below.