University of Dayton Arena will turn 50 years old in less than four years. The aging facility is far from over the hill and is still considered one of the gems of college basketball, but with that round number approaching, the university will conduct a feasibility study this winter to explore potential upgrades.
“The arena has served the university and the community in many ways and has served it very well,” Dayton Athletic Director Neil Sullivan said Thursday. “But it is approaching 50 years of age. We recognize we have to start studying and investigating some improvements that will be necessary moving into the future.”
This is the beginning of the process. Sullivan said they are not far enough along for him to name the most pressing areas of need for the arena. He did say the infrastructure of the concourses and bowl area need to be examined. Fans will be asked what type of amenities or seating improvements they would like to see.
Some season-ticket holders will be contacted and asked to participate in an electronic survey or focus group. UD will partner with the firm of Conventions, Sports & Leisure International (CSL) to conduct the study.
“The study is really about trying to get some feedback from our fans about their game-day experience, what their desired areas of arena improvements are,” Sullivan said. “It really is about the fan. Obviously, there will have to be a funding model to this whole thing. We’ll study that as well.”
UD Arena opened on Dec. 6, 1969. A $13.1 million renovation in 2002 added premium seating, brought seats closer to the court and improved the concessions area. The Boesch Lounge was remodeled at that time, and the Time Warner Flight Deck was built on the other side of the arena in the upper deck.
A $4 million renovation of the Donoher Basketball Center last year improved the locker room, team meeting areas and training facility.
Dayton has averaged 12,717 fans at nine men’s basketball games this season. It ranked 24th in the country last season with 12,718 fans per game. It has finished in the top 30 in the nation 18 straight seasons.
“We’ve got a special fan base, a special arena and a special environment,” Sullivan said. “We want to make sure future generations of students, alums, fans and people in the community can have that same experience in the future.”