July 23, 2014
LEXINGTON (AP) — The $110 million construction project at the University of Kentucky’s Commonwealth Stadium will continue through the upcoming football season with the goal of finishing renovations before the 2015 kickoff.
UK Athletics project manager Russ Pear says construction crews will work until Thursday on game weeks before cleaning up the construction area and setting up temporary fencing by Saturday morning.
Kentucky spokesman Tony Neely told the Lexington Herald-Leader that seating capacity will be down about 6,000 in 2014 compared with 2013 because of construction in the south upper deck.
The work will require some changes to the way fans enter Commonwealth Stadium on game days.
“Our event management team is working to clear up other logistical problems (before the season begins),” he said.
The Wildcats will kick off their 2014 season at home against Tennessee-Martin on Aug. 30.
Pear said good weather during late summer and fall would allow construction to continue through the season.
“Sequencing is important,” Pear said. “Obviously, what we’re trying to do is get a lot of good weather. The final home game for us this season will be Nov. 8, and we think we can manage about one more month of decent weather after the season ends. At that point, we’re hoping what we’re working on at that time will be closed (by a roof or glass).”
About 17 rows have been removed from the south upper deck, Neely said, in favor of a new structure that will rise above the upper deck and hold luxury suites, along with a new press box.
About 2,000 season ticket holders held seats in the removed area. Those holders were allowed to choose where they wanted to move. Commonwealth Stadium has a large enough allotment at the price range of the former seats that holders would not get priced out of tickets.
The student section will remain in the same location this season, Neely said. Plans for shifting students to the east end zone will be implemented in 2015, which coincides with Kentucky’s goals of completion.
“What we’re really targeting is 409 days (the Friday before the 2015 season begins),” Pear said. “Everything we accomplish along that way is progressing to that goal.”