A new potential arena coming for the UNC basketball program?

According to a shocking report, the University of North Carolina is exploring options to renovate the Dean Smith Center or build a new arena.

Duke v North Carolina
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Times certainly change, as college athletic programs are no stranger to looking towards improving their facilities in an effort to keep up with the modern times.

North Carolina is no different, as a rather interesting report surfaced on Thursday discussing a potential renovation, or even the creation of a whole new arena, for the UNC basketball program.

Greg Barnes of Inside Carolina discusses the details in his article (which can be found above), as Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said that they are still in the early stages of these discussions.

Now, this is not the first time this idea surfaced in Chapel Hill. Barnes details how, back in the Fall of 2013, an architecture firm provided the university with concept renderings that included a renovated Smith Center as well as a new on-campus arena adjacent to the current facility in the Bowles parking lot. Those concepts included capacity reductions of 20-25% from the Smith Center’s current 21,750-seat capacity to make room for luxury suites and premium seating.

However, when the NCAA investigation took place, those plans were put on hold, as the university elected to focus on improving (and building) facilities for other Olympic Sports.

At the time of its creation in 1986, the current Dean Smith Center was a state-of-the-art complex. Now, 38 years later, it is still a legendary facility among college athletics, but it lacks the ability to modernize it, which seems to be an area of focus for this newly created committee. Some renovations were made back in 2016, but there is still room that the university feels could improve to keep up with the modern times.

There's no timetable on this potential project, and it is far from being determined as to whether the university will elect to renovate the current arena or build a completely new one.

Although there are plenty of question marks surrounding this potential project, what we do know is this: the potential renovations/building of a new basketball arena for the UNC basketball program will be a very interesting storyline to keep an eye on.

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