Someone must've heard the fanbase's prayers. Or maybe they received the influx of emails and social media complaints surrounding the current topic, because some news surfaced this week that fans have been begging to see happen for many years now. Memorial Coliseum is undergoing renovations this spring! The University Athletics Committee approved the recommendation on Thursday afternoon, which is subject to approval by the University Board of Trustees on Friday. I don't think there will be one person on that Board who will oppose to the decision.
The historic venue that was once home of the men's basketball team, before the construction of Rupp Arena downtown, is now the continued home and only venue for the women's basketball team, the gymnastics team, the volleyball team and the STUNT program and it will get a new look to it soon.
The building which sits in place at the heart of Kentucky's campus has long suffered from its desperate need of upgrades. It's never had air conditioning installed in its history and, outside of the major screen installed just a few seasons ago, you could really tell its age. The school has said the renovations will "encompass all of the building interior and bring climate-control improvements; modern seating for campus, community and athletic events; systems-related upgrades such as life safety, security, lighting and sound; and improve the facility overall experience for the female student-athletes who represent Kentucky so well."
Built in 1950, the building was a memorial to the servicemen and women who died in World War II, while also honoring those who have fallen in the Korean War and Vietnam War. The renovation project will also include an upgraded memorial in its location.
“I’m excited about the impact this will have on the entire campus and community, along with our athletics programs,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. “This is the largest single investment in women’s sports in our history and we are thrilled about the transformational effect for UK Athletics.”
The $82-million dollar construction process regarding the venue is set to be finished in the fall of 2024, "while additional areas are being completed." The teams affected by the renovations from 2023-24 will compete in alternate locations that will be determined at a later date, per the university.
Here are images of what the coliseum should look like once completed.
I am so excited for this and I can confidently say that I am in a pool of many, thousands to be clear, that have the same viewpoint as myself. Congratulations to the UK programs who actively use this facility, because it is long deserved.