UK Athletics reveals plans for Commonwealth Stadium, enhancement of fan experience

A rendering of plans for the renovations to Commonwealth Stadium. Photo courtesy of UK Athletics

A rendering of plans for the renovations to Commonwealth Stadium. Photo courtesy of UK Athletics

 

By Olivia Senter
news@kykernel.com

In an effort to continue improving campus and to bring revenue to UK, renovation plans for Commonwealth Stadium were revealed Monday, putting the next piece of UK’s master plan into place.

The $110-million renovations will be completed in 2015 and will include a new game day locker room and recruiting room, suites and box seats, press box and student section in the east end zone of the stadium above a new players’ tunnel, according to a press release from UK Athletics.

Fans will also experience newly-renovated accommodations, such as restrooms, concessions and ticketing areas, as well as improved stadium lighting.

Construction is set to begin in two to three weeks, according to the release. The stadium’s renovations are being entirely paid for by UK Athletics.

These renovations were approved as a part of Kentucky House Bill Seven and are included in UK’s master plan.

Also included in the master plan are the renovations to UK’s Gatton College of Business and Economics and construction of an academic science building to take the place of Donovan Hall.

UK Athletics will fund approximately $65 million of the academic science building project, the release said.

Gerardo Prado is the principal architect for HNTB, the firm tasked with completing the stadium renovations. He said the goal is to make the stadium “iconic.”

HNTB worked on the last major renovation of the stadium in 1999. They also designed and built other athletic buildings on campus, such as the Joe Craft Center.

UK President Eli Capilouto called the new stadium “a renewed commitment to our fans and first, our students.”

There will be alternative seating options available for ticket holders for the 2014 season due to the construction that will be taking place, according to the project website, thenewcws.com.

Most of the renovations and construction will start after the 2014 season, although minimal construction in the areas of utility and site preparations will begin in December, according to the release.

Ultimately, the new stadium will hold 61,000 people, 6,000 fewer than it currently holds.

UK head football coach Mark Stoops assures the project has already had an effect on recruiting.

Drew Barker, along with other top recruits across the nation, have signed their letter of intent to the university.

“A vision we have long worked for is taking shape,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK athletic director. “This is a historic time for Kentucky football.”