Phase one of the three-year, $72 million renovation of UD Arena remains on schedule. UD Arena Director Scott DeBolt expects the Dayton Flyers will get a chance practice on their home court at least a week before their exhibition games Nov. 4, if not earlier.
“Hopefully, we’ll get them in the building at least to shoot around to get a feel for it a little bit,” DeBolt said Wednesday.
EARLIER: DeBolt gives tour of renovations
The men’s team opens the season Nov. 10 against Ball State. The women play their home opener Nov. 17 against Morgan State.
Neither team will play the annual Red and Blue Game at UD Arena. Instead, Dayton will hold a Fan Festival Cookout with the men’s and women’s basketball teams on Oct. 14 before a 1 p.m. football game against Campbell at Welcome Stadium. Players will sign autographs and meet fans.
“We looked at some different options, like trying to take it over to campus to the old Fieldhouse,” DeBolt said. “There are no lines painted over there, and we don’t have any official hoops. There’s no air conditioning over there — not that there is (at UD Arena) — but it’s a lot warmer over there. And capacity-wise, it’s pretty small.”
As for moving the games off campus, DeBolt said, “We looked at some different things, but it’s just not the same.”
PHOTOS: Phase one of renovations
Before basketball returns to the arena, there’s still work to be done. DeBolt provided a rundown on the latest renovation news. Here’s a quick glance at some of the latest work:
Seating: The 200-level seats on the west side of the arena are in place. The 100-level seats on the west side are going in this week. Next week, workers will start installing seats on the east side. They will then move to the north side and finally the south side.
Fans will find the seats more comfortable, DeBolt said, and they will also notice the addition of cupholders. Some of the seats removed were originals from 1969. The 300 and 400 level seats, which will be replaced next year in phase two, are all originals.
Scoreboard: A new center-hung video board hangs over the court. New ribbon boards on the north and south sides of the arena are up. All the new video boards give UD more options during games.
“You’ve got the four sides of the video board,” DeBolt said. “Plus it has four wedges in the corner. Plus, it has a ring around the bottom. Plus we have two LED ribbon boards on the ends, plus the four existing corner boards and the LED scorer’s table. Plus we’ll have an LED stanchion on the back of the hoops. With all those elements, there will be plenty of information and graphics and videos that we can throw out there to keep folks informed of stats, out-of-town scores, replays, sponsors, upcoming events, promotions, you name it.”
Outside the arena: The small hill behind UD Arena, at the back of the parking lot, has been removed. DeBolt said he believes the hill was built with excess dirt from the construction of UD Arena. Construction crews will use the space for the next three years, and then it be used for 250 extra parking spaces.
The installation of a pressurized pipe around the outside of the arena is pretty much finished, DeBolt said. A geothermal well that will be used for air conditioning, which will be installed in phase three, is in place. It will be used for dewatering until it is used for air conditioning.