Less than three months before hoops season tips off, a big-money upgrade is taking shape at the University of Richmond’s basketball arena.
UR is working on a $17 million renovation to the Robins Center gymnasium. The project, which is scheduled to be finished for the men’s home opener Nov. 8, will bring fans closer to the floor while adding hospitality boxes at each corner of the arena and four 32-by-15-foot video screens.
“It’s really a complete overhaul of our basketball arena,” UR athletic director Keith Gill said.
The project was approved by the school in March and began shortly after last season ended. Renovations are being paid for by fundraising and general university funds. Gill said a breakdown of how much was funded through private donations and what remained for the school to pick up was not readily available.
The renovation will add four hospitality boxes to the Robins Center for entertaining donors and guests before and during the game, Gill said. The new amenities will come at a price: The new stadium’s capacity will be reduced to slightly more than 7,000 from 9,000. The Spiders drew an average of about 6,000 fans last season.
“In order to get the entertainment spaces in, you have to put them somewhere,” Gill said. “The capacity, I think, is the right size for our school and crowd.”
Denver-based Sink Combs Dethlefs is the architect for the Robins Center upgrades, and Barton Malow is the job’s lead contractor. This is the largest renovation the Robins Center has undergone since its construction in 1972, Gill said.
The project comes just two years after UR spent $25 million on a new football stadium next door to the Robins Center.
Across town, VCU is raising money for a $14.5 million basketball practice facility, just two years after the Siegel Center got a $3.4 million facelift.
While the crosstown rivalry fills seats at the Robins and Siegel centers, Gill said competition isn’t driving the school’s plans to upgrade its facilities.
“We’re just doing what we think we need to do to grow our program,” Gill said. “It’s athletics, so we’re always working on new facilities.”
Is it any wonder college tuition is so expensive.
As a Spider alum and season ticket holder, this is a MUCH needed and long overdue upgrade.
“This is the largest renovation the Robins Center has undergone since its construction in 1972.”
Sure it’s an expensive upgrade, but it’s a private university so they can let the market decide if the education is a good value for the cost.
The athletic department has been great about keeping us updated on the progress and the season ticket selection process went very smoothly. They deserve a lot of credit.