A Winning

NBBJ was selected to perform a feasibility analysis of Rupp Arena and the nearby convention center to determine the most cost-effective solution: renovation, renovation and expansion, or replacement.

Rupp Arena is the largest basketball arena in the United States and home to the nation’s most-winning college basketball team: the University of Kentucky Wildcats. After nearly four decades of use, Rupp Arena and the adjacent Lexington Center are in need of major upgrades to stay competitive in an increasingly saturated sports and entertainment market.

After studying a multitude of design options, the NBBJ team found renovation was the most feasible option. As a result, NBBJ presented three arena renovation concepts that would increase seating capacity, replace benches with tilt-back seats, introduce suites and hospitality spaces, and keep the facility functional during basketball season, which would require a seven month construction schedule. For the convention center, NBBJ recommended a complete renovation of the existing structure as well the addition of two new buildings that would double its capacity and attract a broader client base.

Careful analysis shows that if the City of Lexington were to renovate the existing structures instead of building new ones, it would save approximately $215 million in construction costs.