By Zack Kirby, Chattanooga, TN—Renovations to the interior of McKenzie Arena are joining an already long list of improvements being made to the University’s campus.
From the much anticipated new library to Cardiac Hill in the process of being restored, students will have much to look forward to in the fall of 2013. But it does not end there, because new renovations are set to take place inside McKenzie Arena starting in June of 2013.
Todd Bullard, the Director of Sports Medicine, said that the renovations are going to be made to the bottom two floors of the seating area(excluding the gold circle), which are located in the lower level of the arena.
“I think at this point, the consensus was the ability to serve the fans,” Bullard said. “The
maintenance of the existing system and seats had become pretty high and I think there was a need to replace them.”
Bullard also said that there will be an allocated section for donors and constituents where the seats are cushioned, and this area will sit closer to the actual court.
As for students, the renovations will create an environment that will help them feel up close and into the action, Bullard said.
Andrew Horton, senior associate athletic director of development and sales, added that the renovations have been a year and a half to two years in the making.
“We started on the development side and really communicating that the seating was going to be changed, and that involves a lot when you think about season ticket holders,” Horton said. “The clear cut visual line would be students around the side (of the arena) which you still have today. Visually it will look like the same areas, and students will still have seating along the side of the court.”
But the renovations do not stop there. McKenzie Arena staff installed flat screen televisions in early December 2012. There are three 55-inch screens located at each gate and two 32-inch television screens at each concession stand, which all tie into the video boards.
The flat screen TV’s have more visual appeal, sponsors can be shown on the screens and fans can watch the game while they are in the concession area, Horton said.
The goal for the project is to have the seating renovations started in June of this year and hopefully be completed by the beginning of the next basketball season, Horton said.
There will be hopefully be the three tiers of seating maintained, which is important for concerts, and the bleachers, which will be able to slide in, should allow for the arena to allocate more people for those types of events, he said.
The plan for the arena is to have as much use for non-campus events as it would for a UTC athletic event.
“Those kinds of improvements will hopefully bring a better atmosphere to the games, and bring improvement to the budget side. I think all around it will be a great project for the campus,” Horton said.