Soon, the Pete Maravich Assembly Ccenter could have more than just a new video board.
Imagine club level seating, possibly even suites and an expansive entrance lobby.
Those are long-term plans for LSU’s 45-year-old basketball arena, school officials revealed Monday during the Tiger Athletic Foundation’s Tiger Tour in Baton Rouge. Architects have already been at work on possible plans for the arena, said Eddie Nunez, LSU’s deputy director of athletics in charge of projects.
The two areas of emphasis are the entrance to the building, currently two ramps up to the second floor, and premium seating, which is nonexistent at the PMAC.
“We’ve already had some conceptual plans drawn up to see kind of how we make it better,” Nunez said. “We had some architects do some preliminary work. It is something we really need to do for that venue.”
The arena is getting a new four-sided video board, suspended over midcourt, this summer. The HD-quality board is scheduled for installation in July, Nunez said.
There are plenty of other changes coming in the future.
Athletic director Joe Alleva told the crowd Monday that he would like to raze the two ramps, replacing them, potentially, with escalators and constructing a “nice lobby in the front of the building.”
On the inside, officials are hoping to remove seating, possibly decreasing the 13,215 capacity, in order to add club or suite levels, Alleva and Nunez said.
“It has to be modernized,” Alleva said of the PMAC. “I’d like to build a club level at the PMAC. Just like in football and baseball we have club areas. We need a club area in the PMAC. Those will be plans we’re laying out here in the near future I hope.”
The location of the club level is uncertain, Nunez said. The most illogical would be on the floor level because that would remove too many seats, he said. The ideal location is on the second or third (top) tier of the arena.
“The good part about it is our second level really isn’t a second level traditionally. It’s not far up,” Nunez said. “If you take that area ... Is that the best? Or is it the third level? Those are things (architects) are going to try to figure out.”
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Florida recently spent more than $60 million renovating its 36-year-old basketball arena, the O’Connell Center. The renovations included beautifying the entrance and decreasing the capacity by about 1,400 to add club level seating.
Those seated in club levels are allowed to purchase alcohol, and normally those patrons have access to their own bathroom facilities and concessions.
O’Connell Center renovations include the addition of a 50-person seating area with access to a private dining area and bar. About 530 more club seats are available, along with several four-seat loge boxes.
Similar renovations have unfolded at Clemson and Georgia Tech, said Nunez.
“They’re older venues that had to have a facelift,” he said. “Florida’s one of the better ones. They basically took away some seats but added more premium seats. Every place that’s done it, the one thing they keep telling (us) is ‘What’s the balance? How many tickets do you actually need? How many premium seats do you need?’”
There’s a food court and, potentially, a sports bar coming to Tiger Stadium.
Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.