CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A new section of permanent seats that will hang over the student section will highlight the next phase of construction in upgrading Xavier University's Cintas Center.
The XU athletic department revealed plans Monday for Phase II of the Cintas Center renovations. This phase will focus on the fan experience with new seating options and expanded hospitality.
Phase II renovation of the 15-year old arena will begin in 2017 and will be complete for the 2017-18 season. The seat updates include:
Expanded courtside seating: Xavier added 40 courtside seats two years ago, and the popular seats sold out quickly. For 2017-18, XU will expand the floor seating to 66. These seats will also feature all-inclusive in-seat food and beverage service, as well as complimentary food and drink from the Courtside Club.
'Front Line' seats: The Front Line seats will be part of a complete overhaul in the lower part of the Cintas Center. The current retractable seating structure will be replaced with new seats that are up to four inches wider and more cushioned.
'Living Room' seats in the Joseph Club: The Joseph Club will include loge-style seats. Situated in a refurbished Joseph Club, the Living Room seats will feature all-inclusive food and beverage service, as well as access to technology to view in-game replays and statistics.
'The Lookout': Perhaps the most distinctive addition to the Cintas Center will be The Lookout at the north end of the arena over the existing student section. Extending off the existing bridge, The Lookout will include almost 200 seats and access to a special hospitality area with an all-you-can-eat buffet.
"(The Lookout) will close in the bowl and puts seats almost on top of the visiting team," XU athletic director Greg Christopher told FOX19 NOW. "It's about the best experience possible for our fans and also a great social setting, too. Let's face it, sporting events are as much social as sports."
Phase I work is currently underway. Work on the Crawford Student-Athlete Academic Center is complete, and construction begins this month on a new strength and conditioning space.
Following completion of that project, work will begin to expand the sports medicine facilities, more than doubling the square footage available for treatment, rehab and therapy work, according to the athletic department.
"One consistent piece of fan feedback has been to reduce concourse congestion and provide more gathering areas," said Brian Hicks, Associate Athletics Director for External Relations. "Once this phase is complete, we'll have additional special hospitality areas and space for more than 1,000 fans."
Most of the work on the new seating and hospitality areas will take place during the summer of 2017, although fans will see elements emerge over the next two years
Because of the new seating areas and change to the existing seating plan, fans will select new seats in the summer of 2017.
Details were mailed to all season ticket holders last week.
Xavier's process for seat selection is similar to the system used in 2000 when fans initially chose seats for the Cintas Center. The university's Musketeer Points program will serve as the foundation for the selection plan.
"Once we realized the fundamental changes that would occur with our manifest – the new Front Line and Lookout seats cause significant adjustments and some existing seats are lost – we realized a fair selection process was needed," said Christopher. "The process Xavier used in 2000 was well thought out, so we are taking that framework, with successful elements borrowed from other schools that have remodeled their buildings."
The seating changes are part of Xavier's long-term plan to renovate the Cintas Center.
The $25 million total renovation is taking place over seven years.