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Cincinnati exploring renovation for Fifth Third Arena

Mick Cronin, Mike Aresco

Cincinnati basketball coach Mick Cronin, left, is presented the award for American Athletic Conference coach of the year by conference commissioner Mike Aresco on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


Cincinnati has continued to remain a consistent force in college basketball as the Bearcats continue to pile up wins and make NCAA tournament appearances. The program took a big step in maintaining success with the announcement of a renovation project to the 26-year old Fifth Third Arena.

In an announcement from Cincinnati athletics, the program said Board of Trustees approved an interim $2.2-million funding request for completion of documents in the design development phase. It allows the arena design team to stay on pace to start construction in March 2016. Cincinnati will look for a total of $85 million in privately-funded dollars for the project, which will be submitted to the board for review and approval in the next 90 days.

The upgrades in the arena include a 360-degree seating bowl, new restrooms and concessions, an upper-level concourse and a new main entrance with a plaza. Premium and club seating options will also be added to the arena in the new plan.

If Cincinnati wants to stay competitive in major college basketball, then upgrading a 26-year-old arena is probably necessary. Players want to play in high-level facilities and the Bearcats are doing the best they can to invest in their current program to remain ahead. These new additions should help Cincinnati in recruiting and could make the atmosphere that much better with the addition of the 360-degree seating.