John Paul Jones Arena Closer To Completion

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

Along with a new basketball coach, the Wahoos have something else to be excited about--a new place to soon play and practice. The John Paul Jones Arena has been under construction for over a year.

"I like the old arena, but it's a little small and it doesn't have the best seating," commented one University student.

Out with the old and in with the new. This new carries a whopping $129.8 million pricetag.

"It's the largest indoor arena in the state of Virginia, once we get it constructed. So we're pretty excited about that," said JPJ Arena Director, Richard Laurance.

The construction of the John Paul Jones Arena, soon to be the new home for Wahoo basketball, is now 65-percent complete. It's far from your typical college court. "We have 2 and a half practice courts; we have a parking garage that will house abut 900 cars; we have service parking for about 600," added Laurance.

Most of the roof structure for the 15-thousand seat arena is in place - and it's already starting to take shape. "This is the main concourse area here. This is going to be the main entrance to the arena. This is where you'll have a curtain wall, a storefront, ticketing, and everything is on this radius here. So the main entrance comes right in here to a big open area," explained Kevin McMichael, Senior Project Manager.

This almost $130 million project is generating a lot of excitement on grounds, not only from those working on the arena, but also from students as well.

Ashley Greene, a 3rd year said, "With the new arena, we'll be able to recruit good players."

"I'm pretty excited. Go Wahoos!" added another student.

With the brand new arena to go along with a brand new basketball coach, many are expecting more people in the future to watch Wahoo hoops.

"Definitely. Yeah--with a new coach, new arena, [there will be new fans]," said 2nd year Bryant Thomas.

"There has to be some type of buzz that's generated by him. He has to do something to fill up the arena," added another student.

The $129.8 million structure seats 15,000 people. That's almost double what U-Hall can hold. It will feature 2 1/2 practice courts and 1,500 parking spaces. The John Paul Jones Arena is scheduled to be completed by June 2006.

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