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By LARRY VAUGHT
After years of waiting, there is finally a strong financial commitment to football from the University of Kentucky as a $110-million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium and the Nutter Training Facility is now a go.
The project that has the support of Gov. Steve Beshear and legislature leaders was announced officially today and will give UK the bonding capacity to make needed changes at the stadium to put UK on par — or maybe above some — with SEC powers.
Funding the improvement will be made possible by the 16-20 luxury/corporate suites and about 2,000 club seats to be added. Kentucky officials said there is already a waiting list for this new premium seating, something that has to excite new football coach Mark Stoops.
Construction will begin this year and is scheduled to be done by July 2015. Commonwealth Stadium’s current capacity of 67,942 will be maintained or slightly reduced as improvements are made. Also the plans call for improving concessions, restrooms and security.
And yes, the recruiting room that former coaches Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips wanted finally is included. No longer will UK game day visitors have to eat off temporary picnic-type tables set up in the indoor practice facility as Stoops and his coaches will have a spot to entertain recruits and their families — and big-time donors as well. Also included will be a new home team locker area and an improved media facility
And give UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart credit for being will to use athletics money to contribute $65 million toward the construction of the new $100 million Academic Science Building.