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January 8, 2013

Photo Gallery: New Rupp Arena Locker Rooms

It started on a clipboard.

Coach John Calipari and associate athletics director DeWayne Peevy were talking on the court before an SEC game last season about the possibility of a new locker room at Rupp Arena.

Calipari had an idea. He asked for a clipboard and drew up his vision. Peevy snapped a picture of it on his cell phone. With that, the process was in motion.

In less than a year, Calipari's vision became a $3.1 million reality, funded by private donations, that's four or five times bigger than the previous year.

Calipari "thinks big," Peevy said.

Indeed he does. The renovated space features a national championship trophy replica, parts of the floor from the New Orleans Superdome where Kentucky won the 2012 national championship, a round locker room bathed in blue lighting, multiple showers and tubs, kitchens, couches, an office for Calipari, among other upgrades.

All told, it's a massive upgrade for the players, Peevy said, because it centralizes all of the players' pre- and post-game needs.

Peevy said the renovations were more about getting Rupp Arena up to par rather than putting it ahead.

"If anything, it shows a symbol that we do care," Peevy said. "Because like I said, we had some disadvantages."

That's why former players who have come back - including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist last week at the Eastern Michigan game - have had the biggest reaction. They saw what the players have now that they didn't.

"That's the thing that's amazing," Peevy said. "It looks like a whole new place. That's the thing that gets you."

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