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$12.5 million renovation planned for UD Arena, records show

The University of Dayton will make nearly $12.5 million in renovations to the school’s 47-year-old basketball arena — the largest project at the legendary venue since a major makeover in 2002.

Specifics of the renovation were not disclosed by school officials, but a building permit filed with the city of Dayton describes the project by Hastings + Chivetta Architects as an interior and exterior remodel.

FIRST LOOK: Images of proposed UD Arena changes

Conceptual renderings of a proposed, subject-to-change upgrade unveiled last year featured a wider concourse, new club seating at the top of the lower bowl on each side of the arena and terrace suites at each corner of the arena.

Dayton Public Schools easement records suggest work at the 13,455 seat arena may take up to four years.

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School officials likely seek the improvements to the nearly five-decades old arena in part to keep the venue attractive to the National Collegiate Athletic Association beyond 2022. The university hosted the NCAA Men’s Basketball First Four since its inception in 2011 and in April won a five-year extension on hosting the games.

MORE: UD ‘getting closer’ to moving ahead with arena upgrade

UD officials on Friday said the construction permits “reflect needed infrastructure improvements.”

“We have been very gratified by the excitement generated by our fans, community members and others who participated in the feasibility study about the future of the arena and expect to make an announcement soon,” the private, Catholic university said in a statement.

The university conducted a feasibility study in January 2016 and invited fans to take an online survey to field feedback on the game-day experience and thoughts on what improvements were most needed.

EARLIER: UD to conduct study to explore UD arena upgrades

“The arena has served the university and the community in many ways and has served it very well,” Dayton Athletic Director Neil Sullivan said at the time. “But it is approaching 50 years of age. We recognize we have to start studying and investigating some improvements that will be necessary moving into the future.”

Sixty-five percent of basketball season ticket holders responded to the online survey — far above the industry benchmark of 30 percent, Sullivan said at the survey’s completion. The school then conducted five separate 90-minute focus group sessions.

UD Arena opened Dec. 6, 1969. A $13.1 million renovation in 2002 added premium seating, brought seats closer to the court and improved the concessions area. The Boesch Lounge was remodeled at that time, and the Time Warner Flight Deck was built on the other side of the arena in the upper deck.

MORE: UD analyzing results of UD Arena upgrade survey

A $4 million renovation of the Donoher Basketball Center in November 2015 improved the locker room, team meeting areas and training facility.

In addition to hosting the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the facility additionally serves as a gathering place for the larger UD community. The installation of Eric Spina, the new president, was held at the venue in April, and graduation exercises will be held throughout this weekend.

City review of the 2017 blueprints may take at least 30 more days, said Scott Adams, Dayton’s chief building official.

Dayton Public Schools approved easements on Tuesday, giving UD and the city the right to work on water lines, pumps and other drainage systems at the UD Arena site, including land owned by the public schools.

UD is permitted to use some of DPS’ Welcome Stadium parking lot as a staging area for construction work, according to the easements.

The DPS records state UD plans renovations to the arena off and on over the next 3-4 years.

MORE: 5 things to know about NCAA First Four tournament in Dayton

Staff Writers Cornelius Frolik and Jeremy P. Kelley contributed reporting.

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