Arena on fast track to opening

It has 2,500 tons of steel, 10,000 sheets of drywall and 10,000 cubic yards of concrete and has caused 380,000 cubic yards of dirt to be moved.

No, it’s not one of the current buildings in the “concrete jungle.”

It’s the tall structure that’s kind of hard to miss on Nunn Drive.

The 245,000 square foot Bank of Kentucky Center, which is set to open in September of 2008, is fast on track for its partial opening for May commencement.

According to Les Crooks, general manager for the Bank of Kentucky Center, there was a decision to halt construction for one day, so the university could bring graduation back to campus.

Some of the areas that will not be completed in time for graduation will be select offices, suites, concession stands and scoreboards. Some equipment will still need to be brought in, as well.

The bowl-shaped arena will hold 9,400 people for basketball games and 10,000 people for other events, due to retractable seating.

d women’s basketball will be held in the new arena and that most athletics will still maintain their offices in Regents Hall. He added that there would be an occasional volleyball game held in the arena.

The arena will have “Party Suites” and “Party Decks” which will be located right above the bottom floor and would be given out on an event-by-event basis.

Kevin Contardo, director of marketing for the bank of Kentucky Center, of the 12 suites, three have been accounted for and they are aggressively selling the nine remaining suites.

Crooks said that Chartwells has the food and beverage contract, so everything will run through them in terms of what will be in the concession area, which will be located on the concourse level next to the “Party Suites.”

Crooks said there have been talks on creating a student section in the Bank of Kentucky Center, however, no location has been set yet.

As for the possibility of student jobs, Contardo said there would be opportunity for work. Crooks added that part of being on a university is to educate students and he wants to teach them about the Bank of Kentucky Center.

“Overall, construction is on schedule and we are making sure to meet people’s expectations for commencement,” Jay said.