Univ. of Cincinnati AD Mike Bohn said that the $87M renovation of Fifth Third Arena "continues on time and on budget," according to Tom Groeschen of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. Bohn said that the arena capacity will "change from its former 13,176 to 12,012 for its reopening next season." UC is scheduled to return for the '18-19 basketball season at its on-campus arena while playing its '17-18 men's home games at Northern Kentucky Univ.'s BB&T Arena. Multiple enhancements will "include two 360-degree concourses and permanent lower-level bowl with new padded chairback seating, and cup holders throughout most of the arena." Previously, some seats were "angled away from the court and there were poor views from the upper decks." The arena opened in '89. A new upper-level concourse will "include more restrooms and concession stands." Bohn said that a new overhead HD scoreboard "will be added." There will be new "premium seating options, including 16 suites and three exclusive club areas," while a new outdoor HD video board also "will be added." Skanska-Megen is the primary construction partner on the project. Meanwhile, Groeschen notes UC and Ohio State have "agreed to play the first allowable date of competition in each of the next two years, with dates to be announced." UC will visit OSU to start the '19-20 season. UC and OSU have not met during regular-season play since 1921 (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 12/15).
In St. Louis, Jacob Parker notes the second phase of construction on the Cardinals' Ballpark Village, which will add "office, residential and retail spaces, officially kicked off on Thursday." There are "plans for a 297-unit apartment building, a 216-room hotel and the first new office building built downtown in 30 years." Construction is expected to last "for the next two-and-a-half years." The new street running through the development will be named "Cardinal Way" and the apartment tower will be “One Cardinal Way” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/15).
DIGGIN' IT: In Ft. Worth, Bill Hanna in a front-page piece notes excavation for the Rangers' new Globe Life Field "has reached the halfway point." Rangers Exec VP/Ballpark Operations Rob Matwick said that the ballpark is "scheduled to be completed" in time for the '20 season, and that when it is finished, home plate "will sit 50 feet below street level." So far, construction crews "have excavated 700,000 cubic yards of dirt, enough to fill 48,000 dump trucks" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 12/14).
SURVEY SAYS: In Honolulu, Ferd Lewis notes while Aloha Stadium attendees generally rated their stadium experience “good,” a recent survey of 300 respondents who attended Univ. of Hawaii football games found that the sound system, replays, WiFi and food choices "prompted the most comments." Centerplate, which "holds concession rights at Aloha Stadium, was acquired last month by Sodexo, the world’s second largest catering service." Aloha Stadium Manager Scott Chan said that he "plans to meet with Sodexo officials and would share with them suggestions and concerns raised by the survey" (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 12/15).