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Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Most Needed Upgrade for Women's Athletic Facilities -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Summertime is a dead season for us at Cardinal Couple. When I mean dead, I mean dead. No games, quiet recruiting period, few personnel changes... crickets. We get interviews when we can, Walz is giving an update Wednesday at 11:30 -- and as fate would have it, none of our five "Couplites" are available to cover it live. We'll update you if they decide to "You Tube" it. 

Concerning facilities, UofL has prided itself on top tier athletics facilities and while the facilities remain better than most around the country, that doesn't mean upgrades and changes aren't needed periodically. While some upgrades such as increased seating and parking are often impossible due to the structural engineering and lack of available space, there are plenty of upgrades that can be made.

Basketball - KFC Yum! Center

The KFC Yum! Center has been through several upgrades in recent years ranging from a new video board, to the audio system, to lighting, to bars, but one thing stands out to me. The court hasn't been changed or modified in several years. Spacing between floorboards on the court have continued to grow. It's almost to the point it can be a safety hazard for players and it just looks bad from a visual perspective.

There's been talks that a new court will be installed in the near future, but nothing has been confirmed for the upcoming season.

Field Hockey - Trager Stadium

Trager Stadium has had two major upgrades recently- a new turf and a new video board. Both look great, especially the freshly colored turf that replaced the old fading red. The biggest upgrade needed right now is the addition of backrests to the bleachers. Even if the entire stadium can't have chairback seats, the lower level, which houses most of the fans, would benefit from chairbacks.

I don't see this upgrade happening anytime soon. The cost of the turf was extremely costly for a non-profit sport. From a little bit of research, the new turf would've cost half a million dollars at the bare minimum, but I suspect it cost quite a bit more than that.

Lacrosse - Louisville Lacrosse Stadium

The two biggest complaints I've heard about the Louisville lacrosse stadium we've heard are the fact that there are no restrooms and no concession stand. Porta potties as the only available restroom at a Division I sport at Louisville seems a bit on the displeasing side, but without a major structural overhaul, restrooms and a concession stand won't happen. A new video board was recently installed and the turf remains in good condition. So the most needed upgrade that is plausible would be a concession cart. Rolling a cart up to sell water, Gatorade, chips, and candy seems like a pretty easy thing to do.

Will it happen anytime soon? I doubt it, but it is a pretty cheap set up and there's plenty of space outside of the fences in either end zone.

Soccer - Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium

Still regarded as one of the top collegiate soccer facilities in the country, Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium has put opposing teams in awe when they play there. The stadium features chairback seating, bleacher seating, grass berm seating, shade, a giant videoboard, and a playground. Being in the east end zone (The Boyleing Point) during sunset can be a bit blinding, but that's no easy fix. The flying balls onto Floyd Street has been a bit of a concern though. The biggest design flaw is the low wall behind the western end zone. A giant net could be installed to help with that and prevent the danger of soccer balls flying at cars driving by.

Discussion of adding some type of barrier have happened before, but no changes have ever been made. Until someone driving by gets injured or their vehicle sustains heavy damage from a flying soccer ball, I don't see anything happening.

Paulie adds: "It's a bit weary that you have to access media parking on the east side of the stadium and then climb 40 steps to reach press box level. The only other option is to walk around the stadium and then enter in the west entrance and take an elevator to the press box level.." 

Softball - Ulmer Stadium

Ulmer Stadium has gotten new lights and seats in the last few years. The video board has also had upgrades in recent years too. There aren't any restrooms within the stadium itself, but they are located just outside the front gates so that isn't much of a concern either. The audio system has seen some better days. The marketing team has a habit of blowing out speakers at sporting events and softball hasn't been immune to that.

A new audio and speaker system might be in the works sooner than later. The softball program appears to be on the rise and making small upgrades seem doable.

Swim and Dive -Ralph Wright Natatorium

The Ralph Wright Natatorium has been around for quite some time. Due to this being an indoor facility that houses swim events, the humidity level is going to be high regardless of the HVAC system. There's also no room to expand the seating. For most events, there's plenty of seating but whenever rival Kentucky is in town the Natatorium turns into standing room only. However, it is a bit on the darker side inside the facility. Newer lights would enhance the experience, especially if events were to ever be televised or livestreamed.

Could new lights happen soon? Probably. We've seen quite a few different facilities have lighting upgrades since COVID-19 started.

Volleyball - L&N FCU Arena

Besides the obvious lack of adequate seating for the high demand of fans, L&N FCU Arena has seen a few upgrades over the years. New lighting is being installed this summer, more seats were added a couple years ago, the banners have been updated. However, it gets hot inside the arena. You can ask Jeff and his mom who wear t-shirts and shorts year round to limit the amount of sweating they deal with at volleyball. The HVAC system needs a major overhaul.

Word on the street is that the arena light upgrades were pretty costly for a non-profit sport, so I don't see an HVAC upgrade happening soon. I also don't think there's an arena only HVAC unit so this would require renovations to the entire student center.

And maybe, just maybe...the program needs a stand-alone facility of its own on campus. There are areas on the south side of Floyd Street where one might be constructed. With a $124 million athletics budget, maybe a sponsor could chip in as well and a facility could be build where they park vehicles now, across from the lacrosse stadium?  

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!

1 comment:

  1. Where Volleyball has to play the majority of their matches is ridiculous in terms of seating. That area you mentioned on Floyd might be good, or move them over to Broadbent Arena at the KEC and work out a rental agreement.

    They could draw 5,000 or more a match. To stick them in the old basketball practice facility is asinine

    Nick O


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