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Rupp Arena Upgrades Approved; New scoreboard and wireless Internet coming

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Big Bertha will be replaced after the 2015-16 college basketball season.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Basketball is the best college basketball program in the land, and it will be getting some much-needed upgrades that the best deserves.

According to Beth Musgrave of Kentucky.com, the Urban County Council gave final approval Thursday to $15 million in borrowing for the Lexington Center Corp. to pay for technology and other upgrades to Rupp Arena.

The council's unanimous approval means the Lexington Center can move forward with its two-year overhaul that includes a new center-hung scoreboard, wireless Internet for fans and changes to the roof infrastructure so the arena can attract more concerts and major events.

The $15 million in upgrades are in addition to $800,000 that Learfield Communications — which has the contract for advertising for Lexington Center — has given the center to install ribbon boards around the second tier of the Rupp Arena bowl. Those ribbon boards have already been installed.

This isn't the same kind of massive renovation plan for Rupp Arena that was originally discussed last year, but it's still a nice upgrade that this arena definitely needed.

In 2014, plans of a $351 million renovation of Rupp Arena and attached convention center were scrapped. A new scoreboard and better WiFi were part of those plans, and this new plan includes them as well.

The new center-hung audio/video scoreboard will be installed during the summer of 2016 and completed in time for the 2016-17 UK men’s basketball season.  Upgraded Wi-Fi will also be installed before the 2016-17 season as well as improvements to the roof’s steel support structure.

Other improvements will include replacing the four corner LED screens with HD state of the art screens in a 16 x 9 aspect ratio. This will be completed during December between UK games so fans will experience the upgrades as they occur. The LED courtside scorer’s table display will be replaced sometime during the upcoming season.