Plans To Upgrade UNC's Smith Center On Hold Amid Continued NCAA Investigation
North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham said that plans to "upgrade the Smith Center -- or replace it with a new facility -- remain on hold for what could be several years," according to Nolan Hayes of INSIDE CAROLINA. UNC worked with an architecture firm in '13 and '14 to "generate renderings of what an updated version of the Smith Center or a new arena might look like, but the school is not ready to proceed down either path." Cunningham said, "Part of the impetus of contacting them and getting some thoughts was, ‘Could we create some premium seating in the Smith Center just like we did in football?’ It would generate more revenue, it would allow us to retire the debt on that project, and it would fund some of the other sports." He added, "But given the NCAA issue that we had going on, there just didn’t seem to be an appetite to do that. So we put that on the back burner and just went full-speed ahead with the Olympic sport project." UNC currently is "constructing a new football practice complex, a new stadium for the men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse teams, a new field hockey stadium, and a new outdoor track and field complex." Cunningham estimates that the "cost of those projects" will be about $100M. Cunningham: "Once the Olympic sport project is over, I think we could turn our attention to the Smith Center. That’s probably five to seven years away" (SCOUT.com, 9/13).