By: Riley Head ~Staff Writer~
The second phase of the Cintas Center renovations is now underway, starting with construction for the expansion of the student section. Xavier athletic director Greg Christopher stated that the goal is to increase the size of the student section from the current 700 to 1000 students.
Phase two of the Cintas facelift is focused on improving seating and hospitality areas of the arena. 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. The plan was introduced in 2015 and should be completed after the 2016-17 season.
Xavier plans to do this by removing the retractable, chair-back seats that currently populate the student section.
“The driver in everything is replacing the retractables,” Christopher said. “After 15 years, those are just worn out. We thought, ‘If we make them bleacher style, we can fit more in.’”
“With the rising popularity of many of Xavier’s sports teams, it’ll be great to not only have more comfortable seating but also be able to be a more intimidating student section and add to our team’ home court advantage.”
First year Jaxon Cramnich said. Students are currently able to vote online for what the name for the new student sections should be on the x-treme fans website.
The first phase was centered around the facilities for Xavier’s 300 student athletes. A new Athlete Academic Center has been completed, as well as a new strength and conditioning center. Plans for a new and expanded sports medicine space and updated technologies are now actively in the works.
“At Xavier, we’re committed to providing the highest quality options possible for our student-athletes and our fans,” said Christopher. “Xavier Nation is incredibly supportive and after 15 years in the Cintas Center, our fans are ready for an updated facility. Our plan for the seat enhancements is a mixture of what’s popular and cutting-edge at other arenas, Xavier fan feedback and the best use of space in the Cintas Center.”
The $25 million total renovation is taking place over seven years. After the seating and hospitality work is complete, other recurring and outstanding problems in the building, such as technology improvements and Wi-Fi access, will be the next phase of the renovations.