SBD/November 19, 2013/Facilities

UNC Weighing Major Renovations To Smith Center, With New Arena An Option

Any Smith Center renovations would not interfere with basketball season
Univ. of North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham said that school officials have been "engaged in more serious discussions about major renovations to the Smith Center, and the university is considering the possibility of building a new men's basketball arena," according to Andrew Carter of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Cunningham said, "I think you have to look at both." He added that UNC has "shared the most significant discussions" with 360 Architecture. Cunningham said that the discussions have been "preliminary in nature and the first step is for UNC to receive conceptual designs before determining economic feasibility." If the Smith Center is renovated, the "primary purpose would be to add what Cunningham has described as 'revenue generators,' which would most likely include luxury suites, club seating or a combination of both." But Cunningham said that he "doesn't have a concrete vision of what a renovated Smith Center might look like." Carter notes the challenge of renovating the Smith Center "would be multifaceted." The "most significant question is how luxury seating would fit into the building, and what would constitute that luxury seating." Cunningham said that any Smith Center renovations "would not interfere" with basketball season and that the team "wouldn't temporarily play in another arena." Cunningham said that regardless of what UNC decides, funding for the project "will come from donations and athletic department revenue" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/19). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Don Muret first reported on UNC's process in May.

NOT-SO-MAGIC MARKER: In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein reported the "much-ridiculed purple-stained basketball court" at Northwestern Univ. "will be scrapped after the season." The move is "just one of the enhancements Northwestern officials hope to have in place for next season." The other two are a "new video scoreboard to replace the outdated current model and purple-cushioned chair-backs to replace the bench seating on the side of the court behind the benches." School officials "have yet to finalize funding for the improvements." The new court "likely will have darker purple and a block N, rather than the N logo with a wildcat head." There are "no current plans to renovate the concourses, bathrooms and concessions" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/17).
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