Scott DeBolt has taken an active role in making sure UD Arena opens to fans in November without any hitches. The UD Arena director estimates he has personally checked a majority of the new seats in the 300 and 400 levels to make sure workers have installed them properly.
“I flip the seat up, flip it down, sit in it,” DeBolt said.
DeBolt has plenty of help from others. They also walk each row to make sure seats have the correct numbers. It’s a good workout for everyone navigating the arena.
“My step meter has been very happy the last five months,” DeBolt said. “I’ve hit my goal 90 percent of the time.”
The University of Dayton will also hit its goal of finishing phase two of the three-year, $72 million renovation. Fans of the Dayton Flyers can see the latest updates Nov. 1 when the women’s basketball team plays Indianapolis at 7 p.m. in an exhibition game and the next night when the men’s team plays Capital at 7 p.m. in another exhibition.
The real games start the following week with the men’s team playing North Florida at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 and the women’s team opening the season against Colgate at 11 a.m. Nov. 9.
Everything will be ready to go even if the arena will still have plenty of signs of continuing work.
“We’re moving along,” DeBolt said Friday. “We’ve got just under three weeks to have everything ready. Things are coming together. The biggest thing people have to remember is just like last year it’s an ongoing construction site. If people drive by it today and look at it and say, ’It doesn’t look like it’s going to be finished,’ well some of the exterior stuff won’t be completely done. We’ll still have temporary fencing around some of the corners, but from an occupancy standpoint and to play basketball and all that stuff, we’ll be ready to go by Nov. 1.”
It was always in the plan to have work continue year round. When phase two began in April, DeBolt said it may be the busiest stretch of the renovations. That work continues as the season nears. In the next three weeks, workers will put the finishing touches on some areas, painting walls, installing graphics, getting new concession equipment up and running, etc.
All the new seats in the 300 and 400 levels have been installed. New club seats will be installed next week between the 200 and 300 levels.
The four corner video boards have been moved back, and two of them have flipped toward the 300 and 400 levels. Two of them still face toward the court.
“That will give folks better viewing up there and still maintain the viewing of the folks down at courtside and even on the team bench,” DeBolt said.
A new team store will open early in January, right around the time Atlantic 10 Conference play opens for the men’s and women’s teams. Until then, there will still be two locations inside the arena to buy Dayton gear.
What fans will notice first about the latest renovations are the changes to the entrances on the north, south and east sides and the wider concourses and higher ceilings inside the arena.
“The south side is farther along than we originally planned when we started the project,” DeBolt said. “We’ve been able to get ahead of the game a little bit with that. Those three entrances will be the first change in addition to the new ticket lobby entrance.”
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To give fans more time to get used to the changes, the arena will open two hours before tip-off — instead of one hour early — for the exhibition games, the women’s first regular-season games and the first couple of men’s regular-season games. Season-ticket holders also will receive maps with routes to their seats when their tickets are mailed in the next week to 10 days.
The basketball teams won’t be able to practice at the arena until days before the exhibition games. The court is scheduled to be in place a week before the arena opens to fans Nov. 1.
DeBolt can’t wait to show off the changes even if the big unveiling with the finished renovation of the arena is still a year away.
“There were anxious moments last year when we unveiled things after phase one,” DeBolt said. “This year, there are much more dramatic changes.”