I don’t know if you’ve seen this or not, but this commission report has several visuals and concepts for how the renovation to Rupp arena would go, including expansion and adjustments to the dimensions of the building. It seems like a cool idea, though I’m not buying that it can be accomplished with zero interference to basketball season. But all this got me thinking: How nice would it be if we could renovate Commonwealth Stadium? I’m not talking about putting up nice new scoreboards and an electronic display ring around the second level, that stuff just pulls us out of the 80′s. I’m talking about serious renovation to improve the overall experience of the common fan, the season ticket-holding, upper deck sitting, honest to goodness Kentucky football fan. Fantasy aside, I’m aware that the Rupp renovation is the biggest thing for any member of the Big Blue Nation, as it should be. But for a team that finally got a recruit hosting room besides the corner of the Nutter Fieldhouse, there are several reasons to turn a shade of green when they look at the favor given to their hardwood compatriots. Calipari says he wants a “state of the art, world-class facility” kind of renovation, the football team is just looking for something from the beginning of this decade. And for the amount of money they make the university, they should at least get something. So what could be done?
-New Seating- I have spent 6 full seasons as a ticket holder, and every one of them has been in the upper deck. Those metal bleachers are hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and uncomfortable all of the time. And I’m not being greedy, I don’t need personal armrests and stuff like that but a five minute web search got me some cheap options to make things just slightly more comfortable. If you want me people coming early and staying the whole game, then make it possible to survive sitting there the whole time.
-Wind Protection- I haven’t spent to many games on the south side of the field, but on the North side (AKA the sunny side), the elements get pretty brutal. Now short of putting up a retractable dome, there’s not much we can do about the sun; but the wind is something that has been an issue for a while. The design of Commonwealth Stadium channels the wind between the two sides and creates some very windy conditions that can make those late fall nights very hard to stand. Having any sort of windbreaker on either side of the stadium (preferably the west end zone) would stop the flow and provide a little more warmth to the huddled masses trying to cheer on their team.\
-More Options in the Concourses- I get it, the concession stands are there to make the university money, but when you look at them and groan, it’s not a good sign. The university has done a good job recently of bringing in more diverse businesses and tastes, but a hot dog stand shoved beside an exit for the stairs isn’t going to cut it. Ripping out one of the generic “Wild-Cat Food” concession stops and putting in a business that would pay handsomely for the rights to sell there would not only increase revenue a bit more and also spice up the options of cuisine. Then maybe I wouldn’t avoid eating while at the games; and no, Papa Johns doesn’t count.