LEXINGTON, Ky. --- The University of Kentucky has agreed to a new lease agreement with Lexington Center Corp. that will keep the men's basketball team in Rupp Arena through the 2017-18 season, the school announced during Monday's UK Athletics Association board meeting.
The old lease expires following the 2003-04 season, and news of the extended deal puts an end to discussion of a new on-campus facility for the foreseeable future.
``If we didn't have a Rupp Arena, theoretically, you'd want it on campus,'' Kentucky AD Larry Ivy said. ``But it doesn't make any sense for us to have two 20-some-thousand-seat arenas in a city the size of Lexington. I think we'd hurt downtown Lexington if we took basketball out. It would hurt the economy.
``I don't think you can duplicate the atmosphere on campus that you have downtown,'' added Ivy. ``...I think it's a unique setting and something I'm glad to see us continue.''
The Lexington Center is currently undergoing a $48 renovaton of which $18 million is tabbed for Rupp Arena. The process began last season with the installation of video screens in the four corners of the arena and a new lighting system. Last week, a new playing floor was unveiled. Plans are also in the works for new concession areas and restrooms, replacement of the multi-colored lower-arena seats with all blue seats, and expanded lobbies.