Closings and delays

UNC considering renovating, possibly replacing Smith Center

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Dean E. Smith Center

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — University of North Carolina officials have engaged in serious discussions regarding major renovations or possibly replacing the Dean E. Smith Center, according to the News & Observer.

According to the report, UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham told the News & Observer both options are being considered and said the Smith Center has been “fabulous for 27 years.”

UNC has engaged in preliminary discussions with Kansas City-based 360 Architecture regarding the possibility of a new building. There are currently no reports on what the project might cost.

If the building is renovated, Cunningham said, it would be primarily to add things such as luxury suites, club seating or both.

The Smith Center opened in 1986, which was years prior to such things being common in basketball arenas.

The primary challenge for renovation would be determining how to best utilize the space available in the Smith Center to add new amenities.

Funding for the project would come from donations and athletic department revenue. Cunningham said he would not anticipate any funding from the state.

A timetable for renovation or construction has not been defined.

Cunningham said if UNC goes with renovations, it will not disrupt the Tar Heels’ season.

The building currently seats 21,750.

SOURCE: News & Observer

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