New UD Arena sign part of final phase of renovation project

Arena director Scott DeBolt says facility will be ready for basketball Nov. 1

Workers installed new “University of Dayton Arena” signs on top of the building on the north and south sides in September. For anyone driving past on Edwin Moses Boulevard, it’s the most noticeable improvement to the outside of the facility during the third and final phase of the three-year, $72 million renovation.

» PHOTOS: New sign on UD Arena

Sometime this month, workers will hook up power to the sign, and it will be visible in the evening. As of Thursday, UD Arena Director Scott DeBolt had seen only the 2-by-2 foot miniature models lit up.

“I took them home one night,” DeBolt said, “sat them on the back deck and plugged them in.”

DeBolt, UD Athletic Director Neil Sullivan and Beth Keyes, UD’s vice president for facilities and campus operations, along with architects from Danis Building Construction, narrowed a selection of 10 or 11 renderings of the sign to three before the models were built. The designs had different sizes, fonts and shades of red.

» EARLIER COVERAGE: A rundown of final renovations

“We looked at them in the daytime, in dark rooms and at nighttime,” DeBolt said, “and narrowed it down.”

Holthaus Lackner Signs, which produced the winged Ds that adorn the outside of the arena, manufactured the signs.

“We just picked one that looks good close up and far away,” DeBolt said.

Fans soon will see more than the outside of the building. Their first chance comes when the Dayton women’s basketball team takes the floor at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 for an exhibition game against Ashland. A day later, at 5 p.m. the men’s team plays Cedarville in its lone public exhibition game.

DeBolt said the renovation is on time and on budget. That been the case three years in a row now, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t worried.

“Anytime you start a project like this, in particular with the short window you have in the summertime with each of the phases, it’s always a challenge,” DeBolt said. “We’ll get down to the end, and there will be a few areas that won’t quite be finalized or finished, but we had that last year and we had that year before. That’s expected. The No. 1 thing is to be able to have occupancy and play basketball.”

» PHASE TWO: Fans got first look in NovemberPhotos from inside

The Dayton Flyers will be playing under new lights this season. Improved LED lighting over the court will give the arena a different look. Also, for the first time, UD Arena will have air conditioning. DeBolt expects the climate-control system to be up and running soon. Two elevators connecting the street level to the court have been installed. The new locker rooms at the court level are almost done.

The biggest change in phase three is the expansion of the west side arena, a change that mirrors what was done on the east side in phase two of the project. Fans will notice that change, though the first things they'll see upon entering the arena this season are metal detectors at every entrance. UD announced that security upgrade last week.

PHASE ONE: Photos of changes

Sometime before the season begins Dayton will unveil its plans for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the arena. The birthday coincides with the completion of this project, which DeBolt expects to add 50 years to the lifespan of the arena.

“Every day we’re excited about the project and the progress and getting to the end,” DeBolt said. “It’s been a challenging three-plus years in doing this, but as we saw with the little stuff we did in the first phase and the big unveil in the second phase, and seeing people’s reaction and the positive comments, all those things are what we look forward to on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2.”

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