Renovation of Memorial Coliseum, other campus buildings move forward


Fans receive the last of the Big Blue Madness tickets in front of Memorial Coliseum on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Chandler Stevenson 

Rick Childress

Renovations to Memorial Coliseum are inching closer to reality. 

The UK Board of Trustees moved to begin the design phase for renovating the almost 70-year-old Coliseum and approved a flurry of other construction projects at the board’s main meeting on Friday afternoon in the Lee Todd Pharmacy Building.

The board also approved a request to build a new fraternity house on Pennsylvania Avenue and approved renovations for the Chemistry/Physics building. In total, the board approved six different construction developments. 

Memorial Coliseum

UK will begin the design phase for a complete renovation of Memorial Coliseum, the current home venue for the women’s basketball team, the volleyball team and the gymnastics team. 

Through the improvement process, UK will hope to add “modern seating,” better climate control and make it a “revived tribute to fallen Kentuckians,” a request approved by the board showed. 

“The project also will include many system-related upgrades such as life safety, security, lighting, and sound,” the proposal read. “The renovation will encompass the entire building including offices and academic functions, as well as building envelop and site upgrades.”

The cost of the design alone is not expected to be more than $4,000,000. The Kentucky legislature allotted $30,000,000 total for the renovation efforts, the request showed.

According to a request which the board approved, the building was first opened in 1950, and has served as a memorial for Kentucky veterans that have died in combat and as a historic college basketball arena. 

New fraternity house, old ones get new leases

The Phi Kappa Tau fraternity now has permission to construct a house on the  5,980-square-foot piece of vacant land at 407 Pennsylvania Ct. 

The fraternity will front the bill for the approximately 21,500-square-foot house which will sit among other houses in the University Greek Park that encompasses the area around Pennsylvania Ct.

Leases for two vacant fraternity houses on Pennsylvania Avenue were also approved. Both buildings were vacated by the fraternities that occupied them last fall and have been involved in an open bidding process that concluded Friday.

The house at 447 Pennsylvania Ave. was signed over to the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the house at 441 Pennsylvania Ave. will be occupied by the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Both leases last five years.

Chemistry/Physics Building renovations 

The renovations for the Chemistry/Physics building will go into their second phase which will include “replacement of the building exterior, stair tower, freight elevator, and roof; construction of a new loading dock and entrance additions; and mechanical upgrades in the penthouse.” 

The construction should cost $26,000,000, and will come from the authorized $250,000,000 allotted by the state legislature for campus modernization projects, the proposal for the project stated.

The ongoing third floor renovations of the building should finish in the fall of 2021.