Now Reading
UA looking at downtown arena, other athletic facilities

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

University of Arizona

UA looking at downtown arena, other athletic facilities

The University of Arizona has set up a working group to study options for new athletic facilities, including a possible arena downtown.

The Athletics Facility Planning Committee will "look into all options for the distant future," Athletic Director Greg Byrne said.

"There are no current plans to build a new arena downtown," he said.

"However, we believe that we are an important part of our community and we want Tucson and the surrounding communities to be as strong as possible. If there are ways for us to help the community and our program at the same time, then we need to at least explore different ideas," Byrne said in an email.

"We have not formed a partnership with the city or Rio Nuevo on any future facilities and do not have any plans to do so at this point," he said, although UA officials have met with representatives of the city and the downtown redevelopment district.

"Although our facilities have served us well over the years, many need substantial improvements going forward from a fan amenity standpoint and from a recruiting and student-athlete standpoint," he said.

Byrne has pointed to issues with restroom and concessions at many UA athletic facilities, including the 38-year-old McKale Center. Adding club seating and skyboxes to the arena, or building a new one, could add a significant revenue stream to the basketball program.

A proposal to build an arena downtown drew nothing but air in 2008 when cost estimates reached $200 million. An 18,000 seat facility could cost as much as $350 million, planner said.

Byrne said the initial members of the committee are:

  • Jim Click, owner of the Jim Click Automotive Team
  • Fred DuVal, president of DuVal and Associates and a member of the Arizona Board of Regents
  • Meredith Hay, executive vice president and provost of the UA
  • Lawrence Hecker, attorney and chairman of Tucson Economic Opportunities Inc.
  • Michael Kasser, CEO and founder of Hulualoa Companies
  • Steve Kerr, broadcaster and former UA student-athlete
  • Kenny Lofton, retired major league baseball player and former UA student-athlete
  • Fletcher McCusker, chairman and CEO of Providence Service Corp.
  • Richard Myers, CEO of Critical Path Institute and Regents' member
  • John Perrin, UA senior associate director of athletics for finance
  • Robert Smith, architect and director of Facilities, Design and Construction at the UA
  • Joel Valdez, retired UA senior vice president for business affairs
  • Marshall Vest, director of the Economic and Business Research Center in the UA's Eller College of Management

"This will be a long-term look while using our Facility Master Plan as a guide. By bringing together a group of individuals with ties to the Tucson community, we're taking a long hard look at all the challenges we face in working to position our facilities in the top third of the Pac-12," Byrne said.

— 30 —

Top headlines

Best in Internet Exploder