The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees has approved spending authority of $30 million for three UK Athletics capital projects — a new indoor track and field facility, a renovation of the Nutter Field House and new videoboards at Kroger Field.
The Board of Trustees approved spending of $20 million for the new indoor track and $5 million each for the renovation of the field house and the new scoreboards. The facilities will be financed by UK Athletics fundraising, which is in progress. UK Athletics will continue working with campus leadership during the design phases and timelines for completion will be determined as the projects are developed.
“I thank the Board of Trustees for their approval of these projects and the generous philanthropy we are receiving that will make them possible,” said Mitch Barnhart in a press release. “Between track and field, football and our other outdoor sports, there is tremendous demand for use of the Nutter Field House. Having a facility dedicated to track and field, along with a renovated field house designed primarily for football, will be significant for the production, efficiency and safety of our teams and athletes.
The new facility will improve the training and efficiency of UK’s men’s and women’s indoor/outdoor track & field and cross country teams. The building will be located adjacent to the UK Outdoor Track and the teams’ locker rooms and strength and conditioning areas in Shively Sports Center. It will feature a high-banked track, enabling the runners to train on a surface that is now standard for NCAA and Southeastern Conference indoor championships.
With a new indoor structure, along with a new outdoor track and locker rooms that were completed in the past decade, the UK track and field teams – currently ranked in the nation’s top 10 in both the men’s and women’s polls – will have one of the top facility packages in the nation.
“I’m grateful to the Board of Trustees, President (Eli) Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart for their constant support of our track and field teams. Today is a public example of that support,” said head coach Lonnie Greene in a press release. “I’m excited about what a dedicated training facility, highlighted by a state-of-the-art banked track, will do for us in sustaining a championship-level program.
“This will be a significant benefit to our more than 100 student-athletes, who soon will have training, living and dining facilities in very close proximity.”
The renovation of the Nutter Field House will create a football-focused environment while also enhancing athlete safety. Planned improvements include replacement of the current surface with installation of a new wall-to-wall turf. The plans improve the safety of the current practice field, which is bordered tightly on each sideline and cut off in the end zones by the indoor track.
Also included in the field house plan are revisions to the mechanical system to improve air circulation and performance as well as new overhead doors and operable windows to add passive circulation to the practice area. New LED lighting will improve visibility during practice and reduce maintenance while improving energy efficiency. The appearance of the training area will be made more attractive with refreshed finishes and new graphics.
The fan experience at football games will be enhanced with the installation of new and improved videoboards on the east and west ends of Kroger Field. The size and features of the boards are in the process of being determined.
The newest projects further UK’s investments in its football program. The renovated Nutter Field House keeps UK on the leading edge for a facility that was originally constructed in 1993. It also aligns with the $126 million renovation of Kroger Field and the new $45 million Joe Craft Training Facility that have been completed in the last seven years.
“We’re excited about the renovation of Nutter Field House, which will improve our practice capabilities, provide a better environment for the players and make our facilities even more attractive to recruits,” head coach Mark Stoops said in a press release. “We’re also excited about new videoboards for the fans at Kroger Field.
“These improvements will help continue the momentum of our program. We are greatly appreciative of the help of our administration and our supporters who are making these projects possible.”
Under Stoops’ leadership, Kentucky has gone to a school-record six straight bowl games, setting another school record with consecutive postseason victories in the Citrus Bowl, Belk Bowl, Gator Bowl and again in the Citrus Bowl. UK is coming off a 10-3 season, the second 10-win campaign in the last four years, two of only four double-digit win seasons in school history.
Fans interested in contributing directly to the projects can give to the “Kentucky Can” Capital Fund by clicking this link taking them to a donation page.