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Budget seeks $65 million in bonds for Rupp upgrade

FRANKFORT - Gov. Steve Beshear is asking the state to provide $65 million in bonds for a renovation of Rupp Arena as part of his proposed two-year state budget.

The proposal is part of nearly $1 billion in General Fund bonds for construction projects included in Beshear's budget.

Beshear said Tuesday the total price tag to renovate the home of the University of Kentucky men's basketball team would be about $310 million. The renovation plan would also include a relocation of the Lexington Convention Center.

"Now that we know the governor's plan, we will continue working with our partners to complete our financial plan for Rupp over the next few weeks," said Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Gray.

Gray, in an email, said Beshear "recognizes that and understands how important the reinvention of Rupp Arena is to UK, our city and our state."

Beshear said the remaining funds for the renovation would be provided by local and private sources.

So far, the city, the state and the company that manages Rupp Arena have spent $5.5 million on the planning stages of the project.

In July, Hunt Construction and architects NBBJ and EOP were hired for initial design work, but final designs have not been released.

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