The Stu needs a facelift

N Mollen

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Jun 5, 2012
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A few weeks after the Final 4 run I was at a recpetion at Stuart Seigels house in Windsor farms. Rao, Shaka and Norwood were doing some fundraising pitching that the #1 goal (they told me) was to increase the seating capacity of the Stu. They didnt have drawings but said they could fill in the corners and extend the endzone seating up to the nearly the ceiling. The thought process was that they wanted to get as many students into games for free so that they could be passionate about the team and will be the future donors to the program in years to come. They envisioned 3000 plus students at each game at the time while allowing for more regular ticket holders to attend. That was the focus on the most immediate improvements. It sounded like a done deal. They didn't mention a word about the BDC or big scoreboard, corner suites... And after the party, I never heard any serious talk about since.
Oh- and at the same party they told me ODU signed a 4 year home and away game agreement with us for each year. that means we would play ODU twice each year. That never happened either.
Anyways, I say increase the seating. Purposely keeping the supply of seats low is not a long term solution to growth. We are going to have to find a way to get to 10,000 seats and sell out most games.
They are going to have to do a lot of hard non-construction work if they want a huge increase in the number of students at the game. Should be easy but we are not doing that work. Maybe that is because they don't feel as though they have the seats to accommodate them. But student participation is at a low ebb.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Did VCU have any type of plans of possible ways to expand drafted when the Stu was built? I can’t imagine they didn’t build it in a a way to add some capacity added.
The short answer is no planning for significant changes were made with the initial design. I don't know the details but when the Stu was under design, there were "battles" over size and future need.

There's been some feasibility studies done on expansion but the findings have been kept pretty quite. I understand it's not as simple as closing in corners and adding some seats. The original building's support systems (mechanical, restrooms, life safety) are in place based on a certain number of occupants. Changing the number of occupants would require changing some of those support systems. There's also an issue regarding the cities off street parking requirements.
 

rvaram

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Mar 26, 2012
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JMU is currently building an $88M, 8,500 seat basketball arena/training facility. Based on the renderings it's going to be a pretty impressive looking facility. Hopefully their basketball program can improve to some day get butts in those seats.

Looks really nice but I'm perfectly okay with them remaining terrible.
 
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Ramdog

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Feb 10, 2009
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They are going to have to do a lot of hard non-construction work if they want a huge increase in the number of students at the game. Should be easy but we are not doing that work. Maybe that is because they don't feel as though they have the seats to accommodate them. But student participation is at a low ebb.
low student participation is more than just attendance....the more students the better the game day atmosphere...the more entertaining the game...especially if the Rams are rolling. ...get em in the building.
 
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vcu70

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Apr 5, 2009
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low student participation is more than just attendance....the more students the better the game day atmosphere...the more entertaining the game...especially if the Rams are rolling. ...get em in the building.
AD want corps for money. not students. We spend what 6 million a year on BB?
 

Ramcounter

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Dec 7, 2011
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The short answer is no planning for significant changes were made with the initial design. I don't know the details but when the Stu was under design, there were "battles" over size and future need.

There's been some feasibility studies done on expansion but the findings have been kept pretty quite. I understand it's not as simple as closing in corners and adding some seats. The original building's support systems (mechanical, restrooms, life safety) are in place based on a certain number of occupants. Changing the number of occupants would require changing some of those support systems. There's also an issue regarding the cities off street parking requirements.
That is a shame to hear. I figured they had to have built in some way to add some capacity without major structural changes.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Am I the only person who actually remembers the "mood of the program" in the late 90s, prior to the Stu being built? Frankly, I am impressed we got the Stu built up as well as we did back then. Program at a nadir..."Sonny and Mack, together again" still stinging from being let go from the Metro/ CUSA. Sports was less of a focus by the student population than probably at any point since the early days of the University. Also the nadir of investment in the city at that point, as well. The Stu fit what we needed at the time...and more...because the retractable seats added the additional courts we needed to host revenue boosting events, and basketball camps (like when the NBA Top 100 camp was there for a few years in the early 2000s). I wish we could have planned for this sell-out, post Final Four world in 1997-1998-1999, but the truth is, building such a dream at that point would have been folly. I think we need to keep the Stu as it is, build the fanbase/ those corporate sponsors, and then, when the need becomes overwhelming, consider a new arena all together. However, we're quite a few years away from that.
 

PhantomRam

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Apr 30, 2009
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Am I the only person who actually remembers the "mood of the program" in the late 90s, prior to the Stu being built? Frankly, I am impressed we got the Stu built up as well as we did back then. Program at a nadir..."Sonny and Mack, together again" still stinging from being let go from the Metro/ CUSA. Sports was less of a focus by the student population than probably at any point since the early days of the University. Also the nadir of investment in the city at that point, as well. The Stu fit what we needed at the time...and more...because the retractable seats added the additional courts we needed to host revenue boosting events, and basketball camps (like when the NBA Top 100 camp was there for a few years in the early 2000s). I wish we could have planned for this sell-out, post Final Four world in 1997-1998-1999, but the truth is, building such a dream at that point would have been folly. I think we need to keep the Stu as it is, build the fanbase/ those corporate sponsors, and then, when the need becomes overwhelming, consider a new arena all together. However, we're quite a few years away from that.
And fans also forget that during the first Capel year, I could walk up 5 min before game time buy a $10 ticket and sit pretty much anywhere I wanted.
The Stu was a dead zone following the Sonny/Mac years.
 
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Feb 14, 2011
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The Stu fit what we needed at the time...and more...because the retractable seats added the additional courts we needed to host revenue boosting events, and basketball camps (like when the NBA Top 100 camp was there for a few years in the early 2000s). I wish we could have planned for this sell-out, post Final Four world in 1997-1998-1999, but the truth is, building such a dream at that point would have been folly.
Dick, I've heard different things over the years but....wasn't the multi-purpose gym/retractable seats thing done because of where some of the funding was coming from?
 
Jul 30, 2014
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I'm sure they can add close to a thousand seats if they build an upper deck similar to the Tommy West club around the entire arena.