July 20, 2000
The latest improvement to Mackey Arena, new bleacher seating, will greet basketball fans when play begins this fall.
Mackey Arena is entering its 34th season as the home for Purdue's men's and women's basketball teams. Over the years, Mackey has undergone many structural changes and improvements. This summer new bleachers are being installed for the first time since the facility was built in 1967. The project marks the end of another original component of Mackey Arena. In 1995, the original floor of the court was removed and replaced with its current surface. In 1998, the original roof was given a protective gold coating.
The $356,000 project will replace the aging bleachers with new, durable ones. Simmerman said bleacher wear and tear has been more noticeable in the last five years. To counteract deterioration bleacher repair, was done between men's and women's home basketball games during the season at a cost of as high as $25,000 a year during the each of the past five seasons. Since the need for repair became so frequent, it was decided to install brand new bleachers. Starting on July 17, R.K. Sport Seating, which is affiliated with the Dant-Clayton Corp. in Louisville, Ky., began removing the old seating.
There will be no change in the configuration of seating, which means capacity at Mackey Arena will remain at 14,123. At the time Mackey Arena was built, its bleachers were "state-of-the-art" self-supportive fiberglass. The new bleacher seats will look just like the original ones, but will be sturdier. "They are made of steel and covered with a vinyl sleeve," Facilities Operations Director Steve Simmerman said. "They will be more durable and more comfortable for our fans."
The only noticeable change will be a new color. The lower bleachers, below the entrances, will be gold. All bleachers above fan entrances will be black, giving a more symmetrical look to the color scheme. "There was no change in configuration style," Simmerman said. "It will all be replaced with the same style of bleacher seats, the same number of seats as always."
Removal of the bleachers concludes today. The entire project is expected to be completed by Aug. 20, in plenty of time for the start of basketball season.
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