February 21, 2006
After nearly three years of construction, the John Paul Jones Arena is entering the final months before completion. A clock at the construction site says 97 days until completion. Here is an inside look at the progress being made, and some of the arena's finer features.
From steel and brick has come this, the John Paul Jones Arena. The new home for the men's and women's basketball teams is set to open in July and officials say they are on time and on budget.
"It's a $129,800,000. It's what's known as a very close call but it looks real good for finishing up in July," said Project Director Dick Laurance.
The project broke ground in May of 2003 and since, construction has been swift. UVA officials say the 15,000 seat stadium will be a state-of-the-art venue to watch a game.
"When people watch a basketball game at this arena, it's going to be very exciting because not only do you have the playing court, but you have the Jeffersonian columns on the east end. You'll see ribbon boards all the way around. At each one of the portals you will see television sets. As a matter of fact, we're going to be putting in 150 television sets throughout the arena so that no matter where you are, you are not going to miss the action," Laurance said.
The arena boasts 20 luxury suites, two indoor practice facilities, and parking on site for nearly 1,600 cars. Even though it is home to hoops, the arena is designed for so much more.
"Seating is all theater type seating. The whole arena is designed from a multi-purpose standpoint to be a great theater environment," said Laurance.
Officials also say they hope to bring in 90-95 events each and every year. With that, they hope that will bring over 500,000 fans. For those interested in renting one of the 20 luxury suites, you are out of luck. The suites are all sold out for next season.