July 21, 2006
"We were excited about how it ultimately came together. We knew we had something unique but now that we can see it, we know it is something pretty special," said Associate Athletic Director Jon Oliver.
That something special is the John Paul Jones Arena. What looked like a construction zone last February is now a pristine, finished product.
"We're pretty happy we made it on time, within budget and we got all of the original goals accomplished," said Project Director Dick Laurance.
Those goals included an exterior that fits Jeffersonian theme, a state of the art audio visual system, and an arena that could be used for both events and UVA athletics.
"We could bring Cirque du Soleil, Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews Band in here and have those events going on while the student athletes are in our facility and we coexist together," said General Manager Larry Wilson.
Twenty luxury boxes surround the arena and courtside accommodations include a separate lounge area. But the design of the 15,000 cheap seats is what sets this place a part.
"It's very tight. The crowd will certainly help the teams out and we look for a very very friendly home field advantage," said Laurance.
Whether you come for a basketball game or Disney on Ice or want to check out the Wiggles in concert, the arena designers say they have you covered.
"We think we have the complete deal and we are very happy that we have reached this point," Laurance said.
The first event in the new arena is August 1. There will be an open house tomorrow, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. open to the public to view the new stadium.