Lexington, KY – As the plans to remake Rupp Arena take shape and the University of Kentucky sets its sights on an ambitious renovation plan of its own, the question of funding looms large. The two projects could mean competition for state dollars.
It took 75 million dollars in state money to help build Louisville's 22-thousand seat KFC Yum Center arena back in 2010. Now that Lexington is looking to revamp the 35-year-old Rupp Arena, lawmakers are weighing their funding options, including selling naming rights to help pay for the project. At the same time, University of Kentucky president Eli Capilouto has made it clear he would rather see state money allocated to campus infrastructure projects. In an interview with WKYT's Kentucky Newsmakers, Mayor Jim Gray said he hopes the university and city can avoid conflict in Frankfort.
"The university has these very compelling needs. Residence halls, for example, are a little long in the tooth. Likewise, the city has needs. The challenge that we've got is to work together to recognize that there may be some competition," Gray said.
Lexington has yet to request any state money for the Rupp Arena renovation. The task force assigned to the project will present its full report on January 31st.