Next phase of Fifth Third Arena renovation approved

Next phase of Fifth Third Arena renovation approved
New photo: Outside of Fifth Third (Obtained by FOX19 NOW)
Rendering: Outside of Fifth Third (Obtained by FOX19 NOW)
Rendering: Outside of Fifth Third (Obtained by FOX19 NOW)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The UC Board of Trustees has approved an interim funding request to continue Fifth Third Arena renovation plans.

After hearing a presentation from athletic director Mike Bohn and head basketball coach Mick Cronin, the Board of Trustees green-lit an interim $2.2 million funding request to allow for completion of documents in the design development phase. This will allow the Populous/Moody Nolan design team to remain on its current schedule with an anticipated construction start in March 2016.

Proposed improvements to the 26-year old facility, built in 1989 and originally named the Myrl H. Shoemaker Center, include the creation of a 360-degree seating bowl, new restroom and concession facilities, a new upper-level concourse with its own fan amenities, expanded food and beverage options and a new main entrance and plaza with centralized ticketing and guest services.

The renovated arena also will feature expanded premium seating options, including a courtside club, arena club and concourse club as well as enclosed suites, loge seating, a new Bearcats Lounge and super suites.

A total funding request for the anticipated $85 million, privately-funded project will be submitted to the board for review and approval in the next 90 days.

"Today is an exciting day for the University of Cincinnati athletics and the #HottestCollegeinAmerica," Director of Athletics Mike Bohn said. "We are a living in a time of seismic transformation at UC and we are proud to be at the epicenter. We have some work to do to build on a successful silent phase of fundraising which has carried us to this point. Moving forward, we will engage current donors, sponsors, fans and identify new groups who want to be a part of our dynamic efforts to build the Bearcats brand nationwide."

Men's and women's basketball and volleyball home events will be conducted off campus during the 2016-17 season while construction is underway. Bohn told FOX19 Now at a previous date the following venues are being considered - Cincinnati Gardens, U.S. Bank Arena, BB&T Arena on NKU's campus and Cintas Center. No decisions have been made on playing sites for the 2016-17 season.

Fifth Third Arena is scheduled to reopen in October 2017.

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