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First Steps Taken Toward McKale Center Renovation

By Jason Bartel -- December 11, 2012 10:33 PM EST

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As reported by the Arizona Daily Star the Arizona Board of Regents gave the University of Arizona athletics department the go ahead to seek an architect to begin planning the McKale Center renovation project.

The renovation project is estimated to cost about 80 million dollars, which will be funded by private donations and revenue from Arizona Athletics. McKale has had a couple of minor facelifts in the past, but this will easily be the biggest change to the venue since it was built in 1973. The plan is for this project to begin in June 2014, and hopefully be completed in the summer of 2017. Athletic Director Greg Byrne says they have "some real early ideas" and that this approval will allow them to formalize these ideas.

Some things that have been listed are upgrades to the locker rooms, as well as many improvements to fan amenities such as bathrooms, concession stands and the seating area itself. These are much needed in McKale, as many of the facilities in the building are very run down and long overdue for an upgrade. There is also talk of adding some premium seating areas, which McKale does not currently offer. This would surely be a draw for some people, and greatly increase the revenue that the athletics department can make from events in the arena, especially men's basketball.

Another part of this campus-wide project is a new parking structure that would be just south of Arizona Stadium. This will provide a much-needed increase in parking choices for both football and basketball, and improve traffic flow in that corner of campus during sporting events. All in all, with this and the continued projects going on in the football stadium and the construction of a new athletics building, the University of Arizona is greatly improving its sports facilities, which should make Tucson a much more attractive place for future recruits and students.

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