New plans revealed for Lexington convention center

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Officials with the Lexington Center released new plans for the redesign and expansion of Lexington Convention Center. The changes include additions to Rupp Arena.

NBBJ and EOP Architects revealed the plans at a Lexington Center Corporation board meeting on Thursday morning.

According to a stat sheet provided to WDKY, the facility will use over 100,000 square feet of exhibition space, 25,000 square feet of ballroom space, and 14 meeting rooms. The current space has 66,000 square feet of exhibition space and 17,600 of ballroom space.

Our news partners at the Lexington Herald Leader say the new convention center would mostly be built on land that has some of the Lexington Center's ancillary buildings and a parking lot.

Two new buildings would also be added in front of Rupp Arena and the convention center. NBBJ said one building could have restaurants or be used as a meeting space, while the other would include ballrooms and more space on the first floor.

Changes to Rupp Arena could include replacing the benches on the second-tier with chair-backed seats. This addition could result in fewer seats in the tier, but Lexington Center officials say the number has yet to be determined.

Four new hospitality suites would also be added to Rupp, with one exclusively for the University of Kentucky's men's basketball program.

The estimated cost of the project is $265 million, but the group says a more accurate construction cost estimate will be available in September.

The plans call for construction to begin in January of 2018 with a project completion date in December 2020. The Herald Leader reports that the new space would be built in phases so the convention center can continue to operate.

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