RICHMOND (WTVR) – The University of Richmond is over a month into a renovation project to the Robins Center, home of the basketball Spiders which will actually reduce the seating capacity but, officials hope, will give the team and fans a more intimate facility for basketball.
Phase one of the renovation began immediately after the men’s home finale in March, and is expected to last until next season’s home opener on November 9th. The school released artists renderings of what the finished project will look like.
The following is part of a release from the school which gives more details about the project:
The initial phase is designed to create a more intimate game day atmosphere and provide enhanced amenities for basketball fans and enhance the locker rooms for the Division I sports housed in the Robins Center. The renovations to the main arena of the Robins Center will include new lighting, painted ceiling, video boards, scoreboards, refurbished seats, new premium seating options, new hospitality areas, a refinished and newly painted court and renovated restrooms. Additionally, the student section will be reconfigured as one continuous seating area starting on the floor under the basket. The initial phase will also include other renovations to the Robins Center such as deferred maintenance and building systems.
“These enhancements will provide our fans with an even greater entertainment experience,” said Director of Athletics Keith Gill. “We are also excited to enhance the locker rooms of all our programs housed in Robins Center to provide an even better experience for our student-athletes and coaches.”
Preparation for the approximately $17 million first phase began March 11 immediately following the last men’s basketball home game. It is expected that new lighting, painted ceiling, video boards, score boards, refurbished seats, new premium seating options and renovated restrooms will be completed by the start of the 2013-2014 season. The completion date for the hospitality areas will be finalized in the next several weeks. Construction will not impact the 2013-14 home schedules for the men’s or women’s basketball teams.
“We are really looking forward to these renovations creating a new, more intimate and exciting atmosphere which will also enhance our home court advantage,” said head men’s basketball coach Chris Mooney. “The Robins Center will be able to hold its position as one of the great college basketball venues in the country.”
The Denver-based architectural firm of Sink Combs Dethlefs was hired in June, 2012 and has worked closely with University officials on the design and specifications for the remodeled Robins Center. Sink Combs Dethlefs has been involved with the University of New Mexico’s Pit Arena Renovation, the University of Michigan’s Crisler Arena Renovation and Expansion, the Oklahoma City Thunder Chesapeake EnergyArena’s Renovation, and the designing of Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena.
After the first phase of renovations to the main arena has been completed, it is anticipated Robins Center seating capacity will be approximately 7,000. The reduced seating will accommodate hospitality areas located in the four corners of the arena. The hospitality areas will host pregame functions for a variety of groups such as Spider Club, IMG/Corporate, campus/alumni, charity/community, youth and other groups. Two elevators will be added to assist fans to the hospitality areas and into the arena bowl. Some of the current seating will be replaced with luxury seats and new premium “NBA Style” seating will be added closer to the court and courtside.
The second phase of the Robins Center master plan is designed for full renovation of the concourse which would include enhanced concession areas, team store as well as a new entrance and lobby on the south end of the arena.
The Robins Center, which opened in 1972, has recently undergone renovations to the men’s and women’s basketball coach’s offices, locker rooms and lounges. Renovations of the football offices, meeting rooms and academic support offices were completed during summer 2012.